The Sixers overcame a bit of a sleepy start to take care of business in San Antonio.
After playing the Spurs even in the first quarter, the Sixers pulled away to secure a 137-125 win Friday night. The victory improves the Sixers to 34-17 on the season.
The team got a typical dominant Joel Embiid performance with 33 points and 10 rebounds, but it was Tyrese Maxey that provided a spark off the bench with 25 points in a little over 27 minutes. The Sixers’ bench outscored the Spurs’ 67-40.
Here are a few observations from the win.
- Less than 90 seconds into this one and Doc Rivers took a timeout. Turnovers killed the Sixers in their collapse against the Magic Monday and they already had three.
- Sixers’ perimeter defense left a lot to be desired. The offense looked disorganized and passive. Joel Embiid apparently couldn’t stop bleeding. Other than that, great start! Somehow (the Spurs are not good), the Sixers trailed just 17-15 with around five minutes left in the quarter.
- This man is 7-foot and 280(?) pounds and does stuff like this:
through the lane with the euro-step. pic.twitter.com/VRi4wdw8Uf— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 4, 2023
- Nice bench spark from Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton. Still major issues with rim protection when it comes to Montrezl Harrell (though he did get called for a pretty egregious foul on a block of Zach Collins). Much like Orlando, San Antonio is a young and hungry team that’s looking to attack.
- Welp, another game where the Sixers don’t come out with any energy and a young team just outworks them. They committed five turnovers and shot just 36.4 percent from the field to find themselves tied 26-26 after one.
- Maxey used his speed well to generate good looks for the Sixers. He got downhill for a couple buckets, drew a couple fouls and a threw a pair of lobs for Harrell. Maxey had the jump the rest of the team was lacking, helping them to a 39-36 lead with 8:15 to go in the second.
Friday Night Lobs. pic.twitter.com/wg09afQh5A— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 4, 2023
- Doc rode the bench unit for much of the second quarter. Clearly not thrilled with effort level of his starters to begin the game. Maxey had 10 points in a little over 10 minutes leading the all-reserve lineup. The Sixers’ bench outscored the Spurs’ 34-12 in the first half. The three ball was kind to the Sixers as well. They hit 7 of their first 11 from beyond.
- The James Harden-Embiid pick-and-roll got going late in the quarter to lead a 15-2 run and seemingly restore order. This sequence is one of the more delightful ones of the Embiid-Harden era.
THEM. pic.twitter.com/SIDeY8rFfc— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 4, 2023
Taking care of the basketball helped a great deal. The Sixers had just one turnover in the quarter. They scored a season-high 47 points in the second.
- Unfortunately, Harden landed on his left elbow after finishing off a pretty drive and went back to the locker room early.
- The Sixers went into halftime with a 73-61 lead. Embiid had 18 and six boards, Maxey had 13 and Harden had eight points and seven assists. De’Anthony Melton led the hot three-point shooting, going 3 of 4 for his nine points.
- Exhale, Philly. Harden did start the third quarter.
- Who throws a prettier deep ball: Jalen Hurts or Harden?
we love a @JalenHurts reference. #ItsAPhillyThing pic.twitter.com/CAFKoehszn— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 4, 2023
- We recently wrote about Harden getting more comfortable taking catch-and-shoot threes. He’s hitting a ridiculous 47.5 percent of them this season.
dOn'T lEaVe JaMeS oPeN pic.twitter.com/pbuagwdD0N— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 4, 2023
- Embiid is busting out the Euro step in a big way tonight. Dominant, dominant third quarter for the All-Star reserve (LOL). He had 12 in the period and was up to 30 on the night.
- The Spurs were playing the Sixers tough for most of the third, but it was the bench unit again providing a spark. The Maxey-led lineup built the lead up to as large as 21 in a big hurry thanks to a 12-2 run.
Tisse & Tyrese?— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 4, 2023
love to see it. pic.twitter.com/RjLW7oIAyO
- The Sixers went into the fourth with a 106-87 lead. Maxey was up to 20 points. Turnovers were the big story of the night. San Antonio had 15 through three quarters while the Sixers had just two since the first.
- Maxey started icing this thing away. I was on the fence about the idea of Maxey coming off the bench, but the results speak for themselves so far. His microwave scoring has given the Sixers a huge boost in multiple games.
- With a 120-100 lead around the seven-minute mark Doc was able to dip into his bench a bit deeper with Paul Reed and Danuel House, Jr. checking in.
- Why would the Sixers ever make things easy? The Spurs cut the lead back down to 10 and Embiid, Harden and Tobias Harris all checked back in. Not ideal when you have two tougher games on the road ahead.
- Good for Embiid and Harden for getting a little stat-padding in. Might as well. Order was restored again and the Sixers put this one away.
- The road trip continues with a trip to Madison Square Garden Sunday for a matchup with the Knicks (6 p.m.).