Welcome to Run It Back! In this weekly series, we will summarize the week overall and recap each Sixers’ game from the previous week (Sunday to Saturday).
Before the Eagles clinched a trip to the Super Bowl, the Sixers continued their win streak, tacking on two more victories into the win column after defeating the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday and the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, both in South Philadelphia. Tyrese Maxey continued to thrive in his new role as sixth man, and Joel Embiid put up a statement performance over the Denver Nuggets just days after it was announced that he would not be a starter for this year’s All-Star Game.
With seven straight wins, the Sixers are now 32-16 and sit in second place in the Eastern Conference. They are just 2.5 games behind the Boston Celtics as of Sunday afternoon.
Didn’t catch the games this week? No problem, we have you covered.
Brooklyn Nets at Sixers
Result: W, 137-133
Bell Ringer: Tyrese Maxey
First up on the week, on Wednesday night the Sixers welcomed the Brooklyn Nets to the Wells Fargo Center for the first edition of Joel Embiid vs. Ben Simmons. The two teams had met before, but both Embiid and James Harden were out, so it wasn’t quite the heated battle fans had been waiting for.
Well, this contest was. Seven technical fouls, both teams scoring in the 130s, defense completely optional. The Center was rocking with boos (and worse) for Simmons and deafening cheers for Embiid, especially when he broke out the D-Generation X hip thrusts. The Sixers led by as much as 17 points but former Sixer Seth Curry’s 32-points helped the Nets keep it competitive until the end. Maxey led the way for the Sixers in this one with 27 points coming off the bench including an explosive 16-point third quarter within which he shot 6-of-8 from the field and 4-of-5 from three-point range.
Oh, and Simmons was on the Nets’ bench in the final crucial minutes, while Harden was cooking for the Sixers.
The Sixers defeated the Nets 137-133.
Thoughts on Joel Embiid’s AND-1 celebration? pic.twitter.com/wnDwiWiAen— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) January 26, 2023
Denver Nuggets at Sixers
Result: W, 126-119
Bell Ringer: Joel Embiid
The Sixers overcame a 15-point deficit to defeat Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets 126-119 on Saturday afternoon, extending their win streak to seven straight games.
Embiid had a bit of extra personal motivation going into this one after it was announced earlier in the week that he would not be a starter for the All-Star Game. Add that on top of going up against Nikola Jokic, who beat Embiid out for league MVP the past two seasons, and there was the perfect set-up for a standout big man performance. That’s exactly what happened.
The big man started strong with a 19-point, 11-rebound double-double in the first half. Defense, however, was certainly not the Sixers’ strong point in the first half. Denver shot 10 of 17 from beyond the arc and collected nine fast break points in the first half, shooting 65.9 percent from the floor with ease, leading the Nuggets to a 15-point lead going into halftime. The Sixers cut the deficit in the third to just three thanks to some hot hands, shooting 81 percent from the floor compared to the Nuggets’ 39 percent shooting, and the Sixers finally took their first lead (since they scored the first basket of the game) with about five minutes left to play. That’s not to say the Nuggets were going to let them run away with it, however. They held close until the end, but a dagger three-pointer from Embiid with 30 seconds to go practically sealed it for the Sixers.
Embiid finished with a monstrous 47 points and 18 rebounds.