Wait a second, Joel Embiid plays in the away games too???
The Sixers picked up their fourth win in a row, knocking off the Magic 124-109 in Orlando Friday night. Embiid once again proved Kevin Durant right, going for 36 points, seven rebounds and four steals in under 31 minutes of action.
Tyrese Maxey started slow, but ended the night with 32 points, shooting 10-of-20 from the field and 4-of-10 from three-point range. It is the eighth time this season the pair has scored 30 or more points in the same game.
Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.
- For better or worse, the start of this one was dictated by Tobias Harris in transition. He got chased down by Jalen Suggs and took a five-second violation failing to inbound the ball. But Orlando was much sloppier with the ball, turning it over six times in the first. Harris picked up a blocked shot and took it all the way down the floor for an and-1, then whipped ahead a really nice pass to Embiid who had already sealed his man a possession later.
Maxey with the rejection ➡ Tobias does the rest pic.twitter.com/QED20vUxvD— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 20, 2024
- The Sixers half-court offense was rather effective early, and that was largely thanks to 15 first-quarter points for Embiid. He went 7-of-7 from the free throw line in the first, even sinking two after taking an elbow to the lip from Jonathan Isaac.
- Defensively, the Sixers sat back in a zone for much of the quarter, content to let a Franz Wagner-less Magic team shoot them out of it. They were up for it, shooting 62% from the field and 3-of-5 from deep in the first. They took a two-point lead just before the frame ended when Embiid fouled Cole Anthony attempting a three-pointer.
- While Harris and Embiid were off to good starts, the same could not said for Maxey, who missed six of the first seven shots he took. He had several pull-up three-pointers rim out before finally hitting one off the catch.
- For the second straight game, the Sixers got crushed on the offensive glass, at least in the first half. Orlando had eight offensive rebounds in the first half, five of those coming from Wendell Carter Jr. alone. The Magic had a 13-8 edge in second-chance points.
- Embiid picked up right where he left off, sinking his first two jumpers of the quarter once checking back in. He then decided to try what Anthony Edwards of the Timberwolves did last night, throwing a pass off the backboard to himself for a dunk.
JOEL HANS EMBIID WITH THE SELF ALLEY-OOP ‼ pic.twitter.com/TvAUme6eY6— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 20, 2024
- That dunk was amidst a 13-2 run for the Sixers that saw them take a double-digit lead. Orlando briefly weathered it but Embiid was on an absolute heater. He went into the break with 28 points shooting 10-of-14 from the floor. Philly led by eight at halftime.
- After his 1-of-7 start, Maxey began to heat up, making six of his next eight shots. He opened the second half with an impressive layup in traffic, then came around an Embiid screen to knock down a three.
Tyrese Maxey is a sorcerer pic.twitter.com/SzVTnLOMRl— Daniel Olinger (@dan_olinger) January 20, 2024
- After that three, the Sixers put it in cruise control a bit too early. Two consecutive turnovers kickstarted a 13-4 run for Orlando. Paolo Banchero came alive during this stretch, grabbing offensive rebounds and scoring or assisting nearly every point during this stretch.
- So much so that the Magic went scoreless for the lat 2:02 of the quarter with Banchero on the bench. The Sixers pushed the lead back up to 13 by the end of the quarter exclusively from their 1-2 punch in Embiid and Maxey.
- It was not the most balanced offensive attack for Philly. Through three quarters, they had scored five bench points all nights. Marcus Morris Sr. squashed that number with six points to start the fourth quarter.
- While some bench scoring was appreciated, it didn’t take more than the Sixers’ stars to put this one away. Maxey’s second half heater carried over. He ripped off seven points of his own to start the fourth, pushing the lead to 20. Most importantly, the Sixers maintained this lead, allowing Embiid to rest the entire fourth.
- Kelly Oubre Jr., the lone Sixer to struggle against the Nuggets, had a nice bounce back tonight. He shot 5-of-7 from the floor and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, while being asked to guard Banchero for parts of the night.
- Finally, all three two-way guys for the Sixers have played minute for the big club. Terquavion Smith made his NBA debut, playing the last 1:49 of this one along with Ricky Council IV. Council finally got his first NBA point, knocking down a free throw. Smith did as well when he knocked down a pair of threes.
- The Sixers are right back at it tomorrow, as they head to Charlotte to take on the Hornets at 7 p.m. ET tomorrow night.