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Sixers use dominant fourth quarter to beat Clippers, move to 3-0 on road trip

Joel Embiid was brilliant and Tyrese Maxey provided a huge spark off the bench, as the Sixers took down the Clippers Wednesday.

NBA: JAN 17 76ers at Clippers Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Sixers have started their West Coast trip a perfect 3-0 after beating the Los Angeles Clippers, 120-110, Tuesday night. For the eighth time this season, Joel Embiid scored at least 40 points, as he dropped 41 points and nine rebounds. Tyrese Maxey came off the bench again, putting up a timely 22 points. Tobias Harris scored 20 points and swiped five steals.

The Sixers are 28-16, half a game back of the 29-16 Milwaukee Bucks for the East’s No. 2 seed. Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.

First quarter

  • The game started with another Joel Embiid scoring burst. He put up 13 of his 41 in the opening frame. Efficiency carried over to the rest of the team as Philadelphia shot 63.2 percent to start the game.
  • Sometimes, I think Sixers fans go a little crazy with the bench unit discourse. Then, I heard TNT color commentator Jim Jackson say “Oh, this is when they go 2-3” at the realization of a Niang-Harrell front court and realized it’s valid.

Second quarter

  • Some monster minutes for Tobias Harris, who played nearly the entire quarter. He tied his career-high in steals with five before the half. He also stopped a 9-0 Clippers run on the offensive end by hitting a tough jumper. Ten of Harris’s 20 points came in the second.
  • Transition was key for Philly this quarter, as it scored 11 points on six L.A. turnovers and won the fast break category, 18-7, in the first half. The Sixers took an 11-point lead into the break.
  • Sometimes, when a guy is playing like Joel Embiid currently is, you just have to sit back and laugh.

Third quarter

  • The second half begun with the inevitable machine that is Kawhi Leonard playing the Sixers. Leonard’s 13-point third brought the Clippers roaring back, taking their first lead of the game at one point in the quarter.
  • For as good a night as Embiid was having, the Sixers’ offense was not a balanced attack. Through three quarters, Embiid and Harris had accounted for 56 of the Sixers’ 90 points. This really showed in the third quarter, as the offense stagnated into tons of isolations.
  • In the first half, the Sixers were able to get out and run off of Clipper misses and turnovers. That proved to be a lot harder when the Clippers started to take care of the ball and stopped missing shots. L.A. shot 70 percent from the field in the third and the Sixers clung to a one-point lead heading into the fourth.

Fourth quarter

  • It felt bonkers to see the Sixers open the final quarter with an all-bench unit, given how the third quarter went. Luckily for the Sixers, said bench unit included Tyrese Maxey. Maxey’s three-point shot has been the last part of his game to come back. He certainly found it in the right moment, when made three straight from downtown. Thirteen of Maxey’s 22 came in the fourth, an absolutely huge stretch as Embiid checked back into the game with a six-point lead.
  • Philly hunkered down on the defensive end to put this one away when the big fella checked back in. They held the Clippers without a field goal for over five minutes and their lead ballooned back to double-digits. A very impressive response after the third quarter for this team.
  • The Sixers can make it a four-game winning streak when they travel to Portland to take on the Trail Blazers Thursday at 10 p.m. EST.

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