So things look a bit different with the MVP in the lineup.
The Sixers got back on track with a 110-97 win over the Chicago Bulls Tuesday night.
In his first game back after missing the previous four, Joel Embiid went for 31 points on 50% shooting. He rounded out the triple-double with 15 rebounds and 10 assists.
Tyrese Maxey also shot 50% from the field, finishing with 21 points and five assists. Tobias Harris had an efficient night as well, finishing with 20 points shooting, 9-of-13 from the floor as the Sixers led from wire-to-wire.
Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.
- With De’Anthony Melton out, Nicolas Batum and Kelly Oubre Jr. both started Tuesday. Oubre was rather active in the first quarter. He picked up a steal and scored seven of the Sixers’ first 14 points. Oubre’s shot the ball well every other game for the past week or so. After going 0-of-5 from downtown on Saturday he knocked down his first two triples tonight.
- Philly’s offense looked drastically different, as you’d expect getting a couple days off and the reigning MVP back in the lineup. They shot 67% from the field, getting whatever they wanted. Shooting the lights out left the Bulls defense scrambling — Philly made seven three-pointers in the first on 11 attempts.
- Keeping pace with that type of shooting start is nearly an impossible task, and the Bulls’ offense certainly wasn’t up for it. DeMar DeRozan scored 10 in the first, but the rest of his team shot 3-of-21 from the field.
- Some guys were out tonight, but there were a couple of tweaks to the rotation early. Danuel House, Jr. was the first sub off the bench, the sport Marcus Morris, Sr. has occupied for about a month now. Morris checked in at the end of the quarter along with Jaden Springer.
- It’s not that this team needs to trade for another ball handler, it’s just that Marcus Morris as the second option to Maxey in these units might not be the best option. He’s turned a lot of possessions into slow midrange post-ups and just hasn’t converted that many. The bigger problem is these units with only one playmaker on the floor, that’s one of the better shots they can work.
- Springer has had to fight for scarce playing time this year, but it seems like every play he’s made this year has been a SportsCenter highlight. He had another thunderous block in transition, flying back to deny Ayo Dosunmo.
- Quiet isn’t the right word to describe Embiid’s first half, in which he led the team in shot attempts, but he ended up with a fairly nonchalant 22 first-half points. He dazzled in the midrange, shooting 7-of-10 on his two-point attempts on a large diet of fadeaways. Philly pushed their lead to 31 at the half.
Joel is absolutely dominating. Bulls are trying to throw different stuff at him when he's in the post. Caruso doubles here but he just shoots right over the top. Simply cannot guard that. pic.twitter.com/kNLrSGMWq3— Will Gottlieb (@Will_Gottlieb) January 3, 2024
- The Sixers got the quick decision making version of Tobias Harris. Every time he touched the ball he was either hoisting up a three or driving right to the basket. Even when he’s doing well at it, it’s clearly not something he’s very comfortable doing. He had a rough airball from the corner trying to get a three up fast.
- The sound the Wells Fargo Center made when Andre Drummond went to the free throw line was the noise a football crowd makes when they see the receiver get open before the quarterback. They smelled blood in the water and they wanted their free nuggets. Drummond made his first to deny the crowd their chicken, but he hd a couple “Shaq’tin a fool” moments in the quarter. He got called for a travel after catching his own airball, then got rim-blocked on a dunk attempt a few minutes later.
- Maxey didn’t have a whole lot to do this game because, frankly, the team just didn’t need much from him. He had a nice third though, springing himself free for some impressive three-pointers. He also added to his highlight reel of finishes at the rim with this play.
Tyrese putting Coby White on skates with this move. pic.twitter.com/cWgeqXN46f— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 3, 2024
- It was an uphill battle to get Embiid eight points in the third quarter — he didn’t make a field goal until nearly two minutes were left. Not only did he begin to struggle from the field, but he missed three free throws in the quarter.
- On top of all of that, he was hunting for his 10th assist to complete a triple-double. He did get that 10th assist on a nice no-look pass to Harris in the dunker spot. He hit the 30-point benchmark with a second left in the quarter, as the Sixers led by 26 after three.
- Both of Springer’s offensive rebounds in this game were really impressive. He wrestled one away from Drummond in the first half and was able to find Danuel House Jr. for the bucket. He had another in the fourth where after grabbing the board, he made the put-back while still spinning in the air. The kid just makes highlights.
- Ricky Council IV checked in halfway through the quarter, making his NBA debut. His first basket was taken away due to offensive interference on the part of Mo Bamba, so Bamba owes him a drink for that. Kenneth Lofton Jr. also got a couple minutes of run to the crowd’s delight.
- The Sixers will be back in action at home again on Friday when they take on the New York Knicks at 7:30 p.m. ET.