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The Weekly Run It Back: A franchise-record for Joel Embiid, tough end of week for shorthanded Sixers

The Sixers kicked off the week with a win and a franchise record for Joel Embiid. Things took a bit of a turn as the banged-up squad took two losses to end the week.

San Antonio Spurs v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to Run It Back! In this weekly series, we will summarize the week overall and recap each Sixers’ game from the previous week (Sunday to Saturday).

This week started off with an absolute bang for the Philadelphia 76ers. Star center Joel Embiid cemented his name even deeper into the team’s lore, setting a new franchise record for most points in a single game, dropping 70 on the San Antonio Spurs in the Philadelphia win on Monday.

In a complete 180-degree turn on the excitement scale, Thursday night was rough. The Sixers were a bit shorthanded, missing Tobias Harris, De’Anthony Melton and a few rotation players, but that’s not an excuse for the level of play the rest of the squad brought against the Indiana Pacers. An extremely low-energy output resulted in a defeat in Indiana. To make matters worse, Embiid knocked knees with a Pacer during the contest. He finished the game, but was in noticeable pain when the knock occurred.

That knock was likely a factor in what happened Saturday night, when Embiid was a very late scratch for a matchup in Denver with Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets. The Sixers were without Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris, De’Anthony Melton and a few rotational pieces, so the cards were admittedly stacked heavily against them going into this one. The only ones who didn’t think that, however, were the Sixers themselves. The hospital lineup put up one admirable battle throughout Saturday’s game, and the Nuggets were only able to pull away a bit with just a few minutes to play. Paul Reed had a highlight night with a career-high 30 points. It was the most enjoyable loss I think I’ve ever seen.

That about wrapped things up for the week. The Sixers now head to the west coast for some 10 p.m. ET starts (ew) and they’re might still be a bit shorthanded as they go. Embiid (knee), Maxey (left ankle sprain) and Harris (illness) are all listed as questionable for their Monday matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers. Melton and Robert Covington remain out. Portland will serve as the first game of a back-to-back, with the Sixers moving on to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night. They wrap up the road trip against the Utah Jazz on Thursday before returning home to host the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday.

A busy week for a banged-up team.

Miss any of the action this past week? No worries, we got you covered!

Sixers vs. San Antonio Spurs, Monday, Jan. 22

Result: W, 133-123

Bell Ringer: Joel Embiid

San Antonio Spurs v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Joel Embiid hammers Spurs with franchise-record 70 points

It was a highly-anticipated matchup between Joel Embiid and 20-year-old Victor Wembanyama, and it certainly delivered.

The Philadelphia 76ers star center Embiid set a new franchise record with 70 points in the Sixers’ 133-123 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday.

The Spurs jumped out to a hot start shooting 5-for-5 from the floor with four triples to leap out to a quick lead over the Sixers. Wemby put up a quick 10 points halfway through the first before having to be subbed off with two fouls. Then Embiid started to really do, well, Embiid things, scoring 24 of the Sixers’ 34 first-period points and bringing Philadelphia within one point of San Antonio headed into the second. With a career-high first-half 34 points, Embiid was dominating for the Sixers; the rest of the team had 28 points combined. The Spurs weren’t going quietly, however, trailing by just four at the break with Wemby leading the way with 18 points for San Antonio.

In the third, Embiid — I mean, the Sixers, were able to hold and extend their lead. Embiid hit the 50-point mark with five minutes left in the third with the Sixers then up by double-digits.

The game just hit a point where you knew every single Sixers possession was going to end with an Embiid layup or jumper and there wasn’t a damn thing the Spurs could do to stop it. He tied his career-high of 59 before the end of the third. The Sixers led 104-89 with 12 minutes to play.

Embiid came back on the floor in the fourth. He wasn’t done. With a steal down one end and the layup on the other, Embiid set a new career-high of 70 points in 37 minutes.

What am I saying? Career-high? Try Sixers’ franchise record. With 70 points, Embiid surpassed Wilt Chamberlain’s previous record of 68 points set in 1967. With 18 rebounds, he tied his career high for offensive boards with nine. Just an absolutely insane night for the league’s reigning MVP.

Oh, and the Sixers won 133-123.

This was just a fun one, honestly. It was a blast to watch Embiid be just a historically great player and to see what Wembanyama is already capable of in this league. Kudos to Wemby, by the way, who played a good game with 33 points despite being just completely overshadowed by Embiid’s performance. I’d say anyone in attendance certainly got their money’s worth.

Sixers at Indiana Pacers, Thursday, Jan. 25

Result: L, 134-122

Bell Ringer: Ricky Council IV

Philadelphia 76ers v Indiana Pacers Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Lethargic Sixers crushed by Indiana Pacers

This is one the Philadelphia 76ers are going to want to forget.

In the first game of a five-game road trip, the Sixers fell 134-122 after what was a frankly ugly, sluggish effort against the Indiana Pacers.

The Sixers were shorthanded, missing a number of depth players as well as starters Tobias Harris and De’Anthony Melton. The Sixers being seemingly disinterested in getting back on defense in transition combined with scoring just 25 points in the first allowing the Pacers to jump out to a nine-point lead headed into the second frame. It wasn’t long before Indiana extended their lead into double-digits.

They were down 15 in the second when matters got worse. Joel Embiid knocked knees with Myles Turner midair going for an offensive rebound, and subsequently went to the floor grabbing at his knee. It was a “hold your breath” moment for Sixers fans, but the big man returned to the game after a timeout. Something to keep an eye on for sure, though.

The Sixers trailed by 12 at halftime. Embiid and Tyrese Maxey led Philadelphia with 19 points each, but, as has been the story for many games this season, that was really all the Sixers had going for them. The next highest-scoring teammate at the break was Nicolas Batum with just seven points.

It only got worse for the Sixers. The Pacers went on a 10-0 run early in the third and it wasn’t long before Indiana was rocking a 25-point lead. That was pretty much the unofficial end of this one. The young guys came off the bench in the fourth and had a bit of fun, but the Sixers went on to fall 134-122.

Sixers at Denver Nuggets, Saturday, Jan. 27

Result: L, 111-105

Bell Ringer: Paul Reed

Philadelphia 76ers v Denver Nuggets Photo by Brendall O’Banon/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images

Hospital Sixers fall just short after absolute battle vs. Denver Nuggets

Is there such a thing as an enjoyable loss?

The Philadelphia 76ers were without Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris and De’Anthony Melton, as well as Robert Covington and Mo Bamba, taking on Nikola Jokic and the defending-champion Denver Nuggets. After one hell of a battle, the Nuggets were able to just edge out the Sixers 111-105 on Saturday.

The Sixers started Nico Batum, Marcus Morris Sr., Paul Reed, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Patrick Beverley. I’ll be honest, my hopes weren’t super high at the tip.

Well, shame on me. The Sixers came out with some serious hustle. They trailed by just four after the first frame, with the squad shooting 65 percent from the floor and Reed leading the way with 10 points. Reed, Beverley and Morris were commanding the Sixers’ offense into the second. At the break, the Sixers trailed the Nuggets by just two after shooting 66.7 percent from the floor in the first half. Morris led the team with 17 points on 7-for-9 field goal shooting at halftime.

A few turnovers and some cold shooting early in the third from the Sixers gave the Nuggets an opportunity to gain a bit more of an advantage, but Philadelphia fought back again after a Nick Nurse timeout. Pretty much everyone for the Sixers was contributing in some way, and it all added up to a two-point advantage over the hosting Nuggets headed into the final frame.

The final period was just as much a battle as the previous three had been, but the Nuggets began to pull away with a few minutes to play and absolutely nothing falling for the Sixers. Denver was able to hold on to defeat the Sixers 111-105.

This was the most fun I think I’ve ever had watching a loss. These Sixers all looked like they absolutely wanted a win from the tip and weren’t afraid to chase it against the defending NBA champions. Good for them.

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