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Sixers survive last-second scare to beat Sacramento

Sacramento Kings v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Once again, the Philadelphia 76ers eked out a win against an inferior team behind a dominant performance from Joel Embiid.

The Sixers welcomed back Seth Curry to the starting lineup Saturday night, as they took on the De’Aaron Fox-less Sacramento Kings.

Joel Embiid had a dominant second half, going for 36 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists. The big guy got to the line 18 (!!) times, good for a 69.44 TS%.

Here are some thoughts and observations from the Sixers’ 103-101 win over the Kings.

First Half

  • Another good start for Tobias Harris, who has been playing his best basketball of the season in the last week or so. He’s done a good job of facing up and getting to the basket quickly as of late. He had nine points in the first frame on 4-of-5 shooting. The Sixers shot well in the first quarter, 56 percent from the field, but still trailed by four. This was the only positive from the first half.
  • Sacramento defended Embiid well in the first quarter, holding him to just two points. The Kings sent late doubles and did a good job of anticipating passes. The Kings forced seven turnovers in the first quarter.
  • The Sixers struggled just to handle the ball in the first quarter and that did not improve with Furkan Korkmaz running point with the bench unit.
  • Seth Curry rearview blocked Buddy Hield. Yes, that Seth Curry.
  • The Sixers turned the ball over seven times in the first quarter and managed to look even worse offensively in the second. They didn’t seem interested in trying to penetrate the Kings defense at all, and could not get jumpers to fall. Embiid didn’t make his first field goal until there was 1:34 left in the half.
  • The Sixers got torched on the perimeter in the first half. Tyrese Haliburton dropped 16 in the first half and got to the line eight times. Davion Mitchell had 13 points and shot 3-of-4 from three. Haliburton finished with a season-high 38 points, along with seven assists.

Second Half

  • Embiid flipped the switch again after halftime. His 17-point third quarter brought the Sixers back to tie the game at 81, though the Kings re-took a two point lead entering the fourth. The guy is playing like an MVP, what more is there to say?
  • Danny Green has been really good since his return from injury. While he’s on a tight minutes restriction, he’s made the most of it. He had 11 points, going 3-of-4 from three and a steal with his limited minutes.
  • Instead of going with another all-bench unit, Rivers staggered Maxey and Curry with Green, Niang, and Drummond to start the fourth. That particular unit went on a 9-0 run and took their first lead since the beginning of the game.
  • Tyrese Haliburton was the only King to score for like 10 minutes of the fourth quarter, but the Sixers still found a way to blow their 10-point lead late. The Sixers were able to avoid the loss as Harrison Barnes’ three at the buzzer was off, but their crunch-time offense continues to be concerning.