It was a much needed “get-right game” for the Sixers today. They came into Cleveland reeling, having lost five of their last seven. But this one wasn’t much of a contest. The Sixers didn’t get the wire-to-wire victory but once Josh Richardson hit the team’s first shot of the game, they never trailed again.
The first half was led by Joel Embiid who had all of his 14 points in the first two periods. The superstar had his touch going and helped the team build up a 68-44 halftime lead. It was the Sixers highest total for a half this season. Embiid only logged 23 minutes total which is always a good sign since it’s important to keep him fresh for the playoffs way down the road. The Sixers failed to discourage the Cavs the last time they met and that game came down to the wire. It wasn’t pretty. But this time the bullies came to play:
The Sixers wound up with 11 total blocks. Al Horford, Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons had two rejections each. Embiid, Richardson and Furkan Korkmaz got in on the block party as well with one each.
Korkmaz and Harris had both struggled shooting the ball recently but were able to get back on track. Korkmaz was 5-8 with 13 points and Harris was brilliant. He refused to take his foot off the gas this game. Harris led all scorers with 27 points on a ridiculously efficient 12-14 from the field. Some delightful positive regression for the Long Island native. He also had 5 boards and 4 assists, two steals and the aforementioned blocks. He’ll probably enjoy being the bell-ringer this evening.
James Ennis played very well off the bench. He hit 3-4 from three and had 14 points. Matisse Thybulle had a pair of dunks. Both on dribble drives. Thybulle also hit his lone three point attempt.
The only Sixer to really struggle was Josh Richardson who went 2-12 with 8 points, but his defense allows him to stay on the floor through the slumps.
Al Horford flirted with a triple double. He had 11 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists. He probably would have hit the threshold for that achievement had the game been tighter and he played more. He also had a pair of blocks and a pair of steals. Ben Simmons had a double double with 10 points and 11 dimes.
Nine of the team’s next 12 games will be at the crib at Wells Fargo. Hopefully their little slump is long in the rearview now and they can begin to build more chemistry with each other. They’re off until Wednesday when they host the process-less but lottery-bound Knicks.