The Sixers took care of business Monday night when they took down the Houston Rockets 123-104. James Harden got hot from deep in the third quarter, putting up 28 points along with 10 assists. Tyrese Maxey scored 26 points on an efficient 10 of 16 from the field, to go along with five boards and six assists.
Here are some instant takeaways from the win.
- An understandably sleepy start to this game, as the Sixers have been cruising towards the All-Star break and the Rockets had their sleep interrupted last night by depressed Eagles fans. The Sixers were happy to put up jumpers, as 10 of their 21 field goal attempts in the quarter came from beyond the arc.
- Much like their matchup in Houston, the Rockets took advantage of second-chance opportunities and fast breaks from the jump. The Rockets outscored Philly 12-5 in fast break points and 8-0 in second chance points in the opening frame. Still, the Sixers held a three-point lead after one.
- Jalen McDaniels’ athleticism really sticks out on this team.
- The all-bench lineup got off to a decent start, a steal from Tyrese Maxey and Paul Reed each created some transition opportunities that allowed the Sixers to push their lead into double digits.
- The offense went stagnant. Philly went over six minutes in the quarter without a field goal, allowing the Rockets to retake the lead.
- I did not see what happened, but P.J. Tucker appeared to tweak his calf. He did not return to the game in the second half.
- Tobias Harris, who’s struggled as of late, got into a groove driving to the basket before the half. Harris scored only three points Saturday in Brooklyn, but he went into the half with nine points on 4 of 5 shooting. Like their matchup in December, Philly shot much better than the Rockets from the field and from three, but Houston kept themselves in the game on the offensive glass. The Sixers went into the break with a seven-point lead.
- The Sixers came out of the half hot from downtown. They shot 7 of 12 from three in the third quarter, and 67 percent from the field overall as their lead went back up to double digits. Tyrese Maxey started the three-point party by catching a drop pass meant for Embiid, but the big fella rolled right by it and it fell into Maxey’s lap.
- Maxey might have started the three-point barrage, but it was James Harden who caught fire in the third. Harden shot 4 of 9 from three on the night, and he shot 4 of 5 from deep in the third. Philly took a 12-point lead into the fourth.
- There was some really good passing on display from the Sixers early in the fourth. Both Maxey and Harden got Paul Reed an easy look in the dunker spot. Maxey’s most impressive assist on the night came on this fast break when he drew the defender to himself before finding Niang in the corner.
- A really good job by the Sixers to put this game away in the fourth quarter. Joel Embiid was able to take the rest of the night off, only logging 30 minutes and change. It even allowed for a seven-point surge from Boban Marjanovic to end the game.
- The Sixers final contest before the All-Star break will come on Wednesday at home, when they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN and NBC Sports Philadelphia.