It’s a weird season that maybe should be on pause. It was a weird few days, following a game where the Sixers had seven players able to go in a loss against the Nuggets. Obviously, Philly was missing players who have been infected like Seth Curry, but then they were also without some players who were deemed close contacts to Curry and unable to go. Doc Rivers has also spoken recently about how he’s just as concerned with the workloads his guys who are active will be taking on, some of them logging 40 plus minutes and back to backs or both. Joel Embiid, for example, logged 23 minutes last night in a loss to the Hawks. Danny Green logged 28 last night and 50 tonight!
How would Joel fare tonight? Would they load manage the big fella?
The Sixers came into the game as sizable (9 point) favorites since the Miami Heat were missing Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic and other key players. But that didn’t stop Miami’s coach Erik Spoelstra from scheming up all the Sixers could eat. Philadelphia at least had Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid active, but not key players like Shake Milton, Tobias Harris, and several others. They were also at home on Broad Street. But Tyler Herro and company made it a very bumpy ride that required Joel to go supernova mode.
As mentioned, Danny Green logged a staggering 50 minutes. In that time he tied the Sixers’ single game three point record total by hitting nine. He’s now tied with former Sixers’ bomber, Dana Barros. Green had about 5 or 6 good looks at the record but couldn’t connect down the stretch, although it’s tough to blame him as he was playing so many minutes and also checking Herro on the other end much of the game. Green finished 10 of 25 from the floor, two blocks, two steals, 6 dimes and ten boards.
Like the setup of this action for the Sixers.— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) January 13, 2021
Maxey runs a side pick-and-roll with Embiid then hits Simmons cutting (which is a good way to get him attacking downhill), and Simmons sets up Green in the corner. pic.twitter.com/T0q89Ujb9e
Mike Scott added 4 triples, taking 12.
Nice offense from the Sixers here.— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) January 13, 2021
Isaiah Joe runs a pick-and-roll with Ben Simmons, then Simmons creates an open corner 3 for Scott with a quick pass on the short roll. pic.twitter.com/O4svpwva0c
Tyrese Maxey, who has been logging big time minutes, especially at point guard lately, contributed 16 points and 8 dimes with only one turnover, although he was picked on defensively at times. But the rook from Kentucky continues to impress:
Tyrese Maxey gets downhill, draws the foul and converts the floater through contact. Dude is so good. pic.twitter.com/RFsHFHLdIp— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) January 13, 2021
And serves one up in crunch time, before a costly turnover and fouling out:
Tyrese Maxey with a clutch three. pic.twitter.com/9fvJnRVeMc— Harrison Grimm (@Harrison_Grimm) January 13, 2021
Ben Simmons was pretty bad for his standards. There are reports that his knee was sore following the loss to the Nets. And he was held out of the Denver game 3 days ago with swelling in the left knee, the same knee he had surgery on back in August. There was also a rumor that he violated team health and safety protocols and decided not to stay in New York with the team and left for Philadelphia. I’m not sure what to believe with all of this stuff.
He returned for the first time in a couple games and didn’t look right at all. Originally I was hoping that maybe the team concocted the knee issue (that led them to getting fined by the NBA) because of the bigger COVID-19 issue they were facing, when Curry tested positive. But after watching Ben foul out in just 32 minutes tonight, and only score 5 points, I’m beginning to suspect maybe his knee really is acting up on him. That’s certainly a concern, especially as his name swirls in trade rumors:
Ben Simmons had surgery on his left knee 5 months ago and was reportedly dealing with swelling in the same knee just 3 days ago. He’s playing well below his nightly standard. I know the #sixers are shorthanded but any chance he’s pushing something he really shouldn’t be here?— DaveEarly (@DavidEarly) January 13, 2021
Simmons finished tonight with a respectable 12 dimes, 2 steals and 5 boards but he was a step slow and flailing around on defense, fouling jump shooters, turning it over and didn’t look like himself at all to me.
Speaking of fouling jump shooters, the Sixers, giving big minutes to unproven and inexperienced players fouled the Heat while shooting 3s a whopping 5 times in the game. None more soul-crushing than this one by Dakota Mathias on Herro who had 34 and nearly stole this one from Philly with his scorching crunch time shooting. In case you were not sold on Herro being a budding star, it’s official.
Tyler Herro with the FOUR POINT PLAY in overtime— Cats Coverage (@CatsCoverage_) January 13, 2021
New season-high 34 points. pic.twitter.com/sL8pcfd7iG
So how on earth did we wind up in overtime when the Sixers should have had little trouble beating such an undermanned unit?
The Sixers, likely a bit tired, couldn’t keep up with the Heat in transition. Philadelphia turned it over 19 times, and got outscored on fast break points 18 to 9. Surprisingly, they also got outscored in the paint 50 to 42 (with Embiid and Simmons but without facing Bam and Butler?!)
Things actually started to look really ugly in the early third but then Embiid basically went God-mode:
Joel Embiid has 30 points -- 20 of which came in the third quarter #Sixers— Dave Uram (@MrUram) January 13, 2021
There were some “point guard” JoJo moments and he even got some help from rookie Isaiah Joe in crunch time:
And Joel bails them out and sends the game to overtime with this silky pull up:
Joel Embiid sends it to OT ☑️ pic.twitter.com/5AFYFI0nw9— Jeff Skversky 6abc (@JeffSkversky) January 13, 2021
In the extra period there was a frenzy of lead changes, and adding to the rookies to hit huge 3s, was Dakota Mathias. Huge, avenges the foul he just committed on Herro:
DAKOTA MATHIAS FOR THE LEAD pic.twitter.com/xcYjq689xT— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) January 13, 2021
Joel continued to apply the pressure and got to the line 13 times and hit every single one of them. They certainly needed him to. The final score was 137 to 134.
Joel Embiid is a 7-foot-2 All-Defensive Team center who can do this pic.twitter.com/pwnANXUyNA— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) January 13, 2021
Anyway, you don’t want to miss this one. So go find some highlights or rewatch the whole thing. Gutty win with some fun performances. One of Joel Embiid’s career nights, Danny Green tying a record, and some clutch performances by some rookies. It really feels like this team and us fans need a 3 week break after this one but we host the Heat again on Thursday. No rest for the weary.