This is a habit the team could get used to.
The Sixers finished off their two-game sweep of the Detroit Pistons, victorious by a score of 124-92 Friday night.
Joel Embiid, getting the fourth quarter off for the third straight night, put up 35 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.
Tyrese Maxey, and the rest of the offense really, managed to have an off night, shooting 7-of-16 from the floor for 19 points.
Marcus Morris Sr. did not have an off-night however. He had 15 points off five made threes.
Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.
- Coming off his worst game of the season, Maxey didn’t take a quarter to get going. He scored seven of Philly’s first 11 points, utilizing his speed to create fast breaks when he could.
- The Sixers’ defense was active early causing deflections — and they were rewarded for it. Detroit had the ball stolen five times, one shot blocked and turned it over seven times in the opening quarter. Nick Nurse said pregame it’s an area he’d like to improve on, as the team is second in the league in deflections, but in the late-teens in turnovers forced.
Sixers working all 94 ft! pic.twitter.com/dA9qDUHrDl— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) December 16, 2023
- While Maxey looked good out of the gate, Embiid was notably less sharp than his recent outings. He turned it over three times in the first couple minutes of the game and hit the side of the backboard on a jumper, yet still ended up with a 12 points in the quarter. The combination of that plus the team shooting 1-of-9 from three gave the quarter an odd vibe. The Sixers led by four despite feeling like they should have been up by much more.
- Kelly Oubre Jr. attempted a slightly more realistic poster tonight. Not only did he finish this one, he probably should’ve gotten a foul call on this one too.
- Nurse has received a ton of skepticism for adding Marcus Morris Sr. to the rotation, and in games where he’s played extended minutes, those concerns have looked valid, but he is doing his best to shoot those concerns away. He came into tonight at a sizzling 50% from downtown and sunk three more in the first half. A player coming to Philadelphia and forgetting how to miss is uncharted territory — normally it’s the other way around.
- While the starters continued to struggle to shoot the ball efficiently, they were able to coast off that stretch from the second unit. The Pistons shot 35% from the field in the first half and just 9% from three. That allowed the Sixers to take a 22-point lead into the half despite relatively pedestrian play.
- The most interesting storyline of the game quickly became Isaiah Stewart vs. Joel Embiid. The two were jawing at each other so much that double technicals were given out at the end of the second. The two went right back at each other to start the third but it didn’t last long. Embiid was able to draw Stewart’s fourth foul and send him to the bench within a few minutes.
- The third quarter looked more typically dominant from Embiid. His jumper wasn’t falling consistently, but he made up for that in trips to the line, as he so often does. He ended the night going 15-of-16 from the free throw line.
Joel Embiid has just passed Wilt Chamberlain with the most consecutive games of 30+ points & 10+ rebounds in 76ers franchise history. pic.twitter.com/wcatKXVMwp— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) December 16, 2023
- What helped the Sixers cruise despite not being particularly great on offense was the fact that they were basically getting fast breaks all night. They swiped seven more steals in the third, giving them an 22-8 advantage in fast break points. Philly’s lead ballooned to 32 after three.
- Marcus Morris was forced to put up a grenade, well behind the three-point line with the shot clock winding down and he still buried it. When you’re hot, you're hot.
- So the team that gets compared a lot to these Pistons are the Process era Sixers and I actually think that’s a bad comparison. Those Sixers teams during the actual Process were trotting out maybe one NBA-caliber player on the team. This Pistons team is like if the Sixers went 10-72 once Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons had taken the court, a much grimmer outlook.
- For a change of pace, the Sixers’ next opponent is a team that’s won a basketball game in the month of December. They’ll head down to Charlotte to take on the Hornets tomorrow night at 7 p.m. ET.