2023 Sixer of the Week Award Winners:
Joel Embiid - 5
James Harden - 2
Mac McClung - 1
The Sixers went 3-0 on the week, and now have a firm hold on the three seed in the Eastern Conference with the two spot creeping ever closer. Philadelphia avoided two potential letdown spots this week. After the emotional high of last Saturday’s Milwaukee win, they could have been excused for falling asleep at the wheel against not terrible, but also not great opponents in Indiana and Minnesota. But while the defense didn’t make the trip to Indianapolis, they won that barnburner, 147-143, and then played the second night of a road back-to-back without James Harden and stomped Minnesota, 117-94. The other potential letdown spot was the first game at home after a long road trip, but although the Sixers trailed for the first 47 minutes and 59 seconds of the game against Portland, the last second was what ultimately counted on Joel Embiid’s game-winner. Let’s examine our Sixer of the Week candidates, but we don’t need to overthink this decision.
Joel Embiid: 40.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.7 steals, 2.3 blocks, 3.7 turnovers
During the three games this week, Joel Embiid averaged 40 points while shooting 63.8 percent from the field, including 71.4 percent from three-point range. He reasserted himself as the subject of Myles Turner’s nightmares for yet another year. Embiid then roasted, toasted, and burnt to a crisp the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert. If Joel ever decides that he wants to play for Team France, we know fully well who the Alpha Center is on that national squad. Embiid then almost single-handedly kept his team hanging around close enough against Portland so that when some teammates finally got it together in the fourth quarter to help close the gap, he was poised and ready to drive the dagger home. This is not normal, everyone.
still not over this. pic.twitter.com/yzUfhPQa2d— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) March 11, 2023
Tyrese Maxey: 21.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.3 blocks, 1.0 turnovers
Maxey had his six-game streak of scoring at least 23 points snapped Friday night against Portland (he scored 13), but we’ll let it slide considering he made some big plays in the fourth quarter and also put together one of the better defensive efforts we’ve seen from him. Per NBA.com, Tyrese spent 42 percent of his defensive time covering Damian Lillard, with Dame Time going scoreless on 0-of-4 shooting.
As Maxey was talking in the locker room, Doc Rivers shouted “You’re talking to the defensive player [of the game]?” De’Anthony Melton then yelled “Two-way Maxey!” which Tyrese seemed to enjoy. https://t.co/XV1CFkb1CY— Paul Hudrick (@PaulHudrick) March 11, 2023
Of course, his work on the offensive end is usually what he’s known for, and Maxey had that going in the two games to finish out the road trip. Tyrese drained a combined 10 three-pointers against Indiana and Minnesota, nailing stepbacks and racing up and down the court with all the speed and joy we’ve come to expect from him. Maxey is shooting 55.6 percent from downtown and hasn’t missed a free throw in the month of March.
James Harden's reaction to Tyrese Maxey balling out.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 8, 2023
That is all. pic.twitter.com/XGgZnFgG0c
James Harden: 16.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 14.0 assists, 1.5 turnovers
Harden only played two games this week, getting the load management night off against the Wolves. He had rough shooting nights in both those games, although he turned things around in the second half Friday night, hitting a pair of threes, including the crucial stepback with a few minutes left in the ballgame. But I’m not going to exclude someone who had a 20 ASSIST, 1 TURNOVER game. Here’s how historic that feat is:
Players with 20+ assists on 1 turnover or less in the last 15 seasons: pic.twitter.com/tV1mELtA1t— StatMuse (@statmuse) March 7, 2023
It was Harden’s second 20-assist game this year, the first time in Sixers franchise history a player has had multiple such games in one season.
BEARD BALL. pic.twitter.com/4qchiar8UU— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) March 11, 2023
Who is the Sixer of the Week with Philadelphia riding a four-game winning streak?
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