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Sixer of the Week: Playoff-like atmospheres as the Sixers split a pair against Memphis and Boston

If this is the quality of ball we can accept in April and May, clear your calendars for appointment viewing.

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

2023 Sixer of the Week Award Winners:
Joel Embiid - 4
James Harden - 1
Mac McClung - 1

Although it was a short week coming out of the All-Star Break, we were not devoid of intense Philadelphia 76ers action. The Sixers overcame a 17-point deficit to take the lead in the final minutes against the Memphis Grizzlies, holding on for a wild win. Then, they were on the end of “In the NBA, everybody makes a run,” last night against Boston, blowing a 15-point third quarter lead in a game that Jayson Tatum would eventually win with one second remaining. The Celtics game was a bit of a Rorschach test for Sixers fandom. Yes, 0-3 against Boston is awful, and the bench was crushed by the Celtics last night. But the starters were clearly better so maybe there’s hope if and when Doc Rivers shortens the rotation in the postseason. Thoughts for another day as we now look back and determine Sixer of the Week.

James Harden weekly line: 26.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.0 blocks, 4.0 turnovers

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Harden was masterful offensively against Memphis, hitting six threes on his way to 31 points, exploiting switches brilliantly and beating big men off the dribble with ease. James looking pretty close to Prime Beard against one of the better defenses in the league? Yes, please. Oh, and he passed Allen Iverson on the all-time scoring list. No big deal. Although he struggled a great deal more against Boston, he was instrumental in the Sixers getting back the lead in the fourth quarter, tallying nine points and four assists in the period.

However, for whatever he did on the court, Harden may deserve the honor for also being an outstanding human being off the court this week. He hooked up a bunch of Sixers employees with Harden Vol 7s, but more importantly, reached out to one of the victims of the Michigan State mass shooting who was paralyzed from the chest down, Facetiming with him, gifting him merch, and providing his personal cell number and encouraging him to reach out. Great on you, James.

Joel Embiid weekly line: 34.0 points, 15.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 4.5 blocks, 2.5 turnovers

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Embiid couldn’t hit the broad side of the barn from the field against Memphis (likely due to illness), but winners find ways to win, and Joel focused on putting forth probably his best defensive performance of the season. He recorded six blocks, secured 19 rebounds, deterred a number of other drives and shot attempts with his mere presence, and, of course, created maybe the highlight block of the year against Ja Morant.

Whatever offensive woes Joel experienced against the Grizzlies had fully evaporated in time for the Boston game. 41 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, and three blocks against this franchise’s most hated rival is nearly enough to get this man a banner. Al Horford certainly “got his” by hitting all those big threes, but the idea of Al being the Joel stopper can be officially dead and buried — at least that’s one thing that bodes well for a potential playoff series between the clubs. Oh, and Joel might be the best almost-counted-three-quarters-court-heave guy this league has ever seen.

P.J. Tucker weekly line: 6.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.5 turnovers

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

With the All-Star Break behind us and the regular season winding down, it looks like Playoff P.J. Tucker has emerged out of his cocoon and is spreading his wings. With a pair of postseason-like atmospheres at the Center this week, we were reminded why Tucker was such a sought-after free agent acquisition. It looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of P.J. as the small-ball five and he averaged 35 minutes across the two games this week. He tracked down a whopping 16 rebounds in the Boston contest, and seemed to come up with one huge loose ball after another in both games, including the o-board leading to the last-minute go-ahead shot over the Grizzlies. Tucker even has more confidence in his offensive game. We actually witnessed a side-dribble three from P.J. against Boston! If you would have told me in December we would be seeing that from him, I would have asked what substances had been legalized in your state.

Tobias Harris weekly line: 19.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.5 blocks, 1.0 turnovers

Memphis Grizzlies v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

After going from December 19 to last Wednesday’s game against Cleveland without hitting more than two three-pointers in a game, Harris has looked refocused coming out of the All-Star break, hitting seven threes across the two games this week. None were bigger than the two triples he hit in the late stages of the Memphis game, including the go-ahead shot with 39 seconds remaining. Tobias has taken out a mortgage and made that right corner his home this season.


Who is the latest Sixer of the Week?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    James Harden
    (30 votes)
  • 61%
    Joel Embiid
    (75 votes)
  • 5%
    P.J. Tucker
    (7 votes)
  • 7%
    Tobias Harris
    (9 votes)
121 votes total Vote Now

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