Photo Credit: Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers (36-22) came into tonight’s game dejected from a blow out loss in Milwaukee Saturday evening. On top of that, they would be without Ben Simmons who is out indefinitely with a lower back injury. Shake Milton would get the start in his place and Al Horford would be thrust back into the starting lineup as well. They would face the Atlanta Hawks (17-42) who have given them fits all year. How would Joel and the Sixers respond?
Joel Embiid set the tone early as the Sixers jumped out to a quick 14-5 lead. He dominated the quarter on both ends on the floor going 5-7 for 13 points. The offense was being run how most of us wish, inside-out and through Embiid. Believe it or not we actually saw pick and roll to the actual basket (Even Horford) with the Sixers supporting cast shooting 68.2% from the field (Harris 10, Shake 5, Kork 5). The three ball was falling too which always helps.
SIXERS 41 HAWKS 24
The 2nd started out erratic for both teams with turnovers, sloppy passing, loose balls, missed oops and missed dunks. The Hawks turnovers (13 for the game) were much worse and didn’t allow them to get back in the game here in the second. The Sixers did an outstanding job on Trae Young (10 first-half points), who seemed nonexistent, keeping him under control and not allowing him to get to the foul line with only 2 first-half attempts. Joel Embiid added another eight rolling into halftime with a total of 21 points. The Sixers had pushed the lead back to 17 to close the half but you could tell the effort wasn’t what it once was earlier in the game.
SIXERS 69 HAWKS 52
The Sixers came out so flat after halftime that Brett Brown had to call a timeout like 40 seconds into the quarter. The timeout didn’t really wake anyone up as they began to move away from the pick and rolls or the focus on running the offense through Embiid which got them this lead. The Sixers offense was now a bunch of guys standing at the 3pt line that couldn’t hit a shot and a defense giving minimal effort allowing easy buckets with stupid fouls. The Hawks took advantage as John Collins (21 points) and De’Andre Hunter (22 points) began to dominate the paint not Joel Embiid who still had 6pts in the quarter. Trae Young, who finished with 28, got going too burying a 3 pointer to end the quarter giving the Hawks the lead as they outscored the Sixers 40-22 in the quarter. Somehow the Sixers were now losing and the crowd let them have it!
HAWKS 92 SIXERS 91
The Boos were so loud and you could hear them through the TV and Joel Embiid certainly heard them too. The game was going to be won on his back or it was not going to be won at all. Joel needed to get back on the attack and the Sixers came right out on the first possession and reset the tone by getting the ball to their big man down low. He responded with a foul and one to put the Sixers back up 2 points. They lead would not be lost again as Joel Embiid erupted for 22 fourth-quarter points outscoring the Hawks personally 22-20 in the quarter. He would finish the night with a career-high 49 points along with 14 rebounds (First 76er since Moses Malone in 1984 and most points since Allen Iverson’s 53 in 2005) as the M-V-P Chants returned to the Wells Fargo Center. Tobias Harris added another 25 points but tonight was all about the continued growth of Joel “The Process” Embiid. FINAL: SIXERS 129 HAWKS 112
Co-Host & Writer Edge of Philly Sports
Twitter & Instagram: @FredHugo_
Facebook: Fred Hugo