Joel Embiid did not join the Sixers on their last road trip due to right knee pain. He’s back for Wednesday’s game against the Celtics at Wells Fargo, though, and the Sixers are sure to be happy they were available.
Embiid led the Sixers to a 117-109 victory, scoring 42 points in 19 field goal attempts, earning 10 rebounds and helping the team improve to 10-5 with another performance at MVP level.
Seth Curry has liquidated the NBA’s health and safety protocols, but he did not play on Wednesday as he regains his status after testing positive for COVID-19 on January 7. All players who test positive for COVID-19 are not allowed to play sports for at least 10 days, according to the COVID-19 league protocols. Celtics star Jayson Tatum may be able to return to the final end of this mini-series on Friday as he makes progress after testing positive for COVID-19.
Here are notes about the Sixers’ win on Wednesday:
Ambed too much to deal with
Embiid seemed sharp and impossible to defend effectively.
The Sixers early succeeded in using it in the left elbow area and in pickup points and pop in the top of the switch, which are more difficult points for the Celtics to double down on their squad more than the low block.
Boston still doesn’t mind double-teaming whenever possible, of course, and the Sixers were totally happy to post it. There was a fantastic Sixers sequence in the second quarter when Embiid got a center near the left block, drew help and made a simple pass from it, and eventually saw Shake Milton plunge three on the other side of the ground. Helping Danny Green across the field in the third quarter was highlighting another Embiid pass that showed his talent this season in carrying out both basic and cutting edge readings from the post.
Embiid is elite at creating free throws and showing them against another opponent who is not equipped to stop him, making him 17 out of 21. This skill was especially important when the Sixers went on an extended drought in the second quarter without a field goal. Embiid’s health is crucial to the Sixers, and a team scoring 0-3 without him this season is not necessary to explain this obvious fact. However, Dwight Howard was given credit for being a nuisance to the Celtics and scored six offensive rebounds.
In contrast to Embiide, Ben Simmons’ recording can again be described as modest. The 24-year-old didn’t set up a field goal until he stole Jeff Teague and this was followed by a fast transfer early in the third period. He conceded his fifth mistake late in the third quarter and finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
While Simmons attacked the Edge well on several occasions when he felt a punch and shot a 7-to-10 spoiler streak, the January 6-point 17-point tally against the Wizards was still its highest for the season. It’s clear that Simmons is constantly contributing in a number of ways besides scoring and should benefit when Carrie returns.
Tobias Harris (22 points, 9 to 17) provided some necessary attacking momentum at crucial moments, scoring seven straight points as the Sixers trailed behind 12-4 and helped the team regain the lead early in the fourth quarter in the squad. Four bench players.
Korkmaz returns and swaying the Sixers’ bench
Furkan Korkmaz returned on Wednesday after missing more than three weeks due to the left-hand close-in bloodline, scoring seven points in 19 minutes, including a neat backwash. Isaiah Joe was the weird guy that Milton, Howard, Mattis Theboll and Korkmaz appeared in.
When asked about Joe before the match, coach Doc Rivers indicated that he is not the only shooters-maker on the Sixers.
“He’s a guy who can hit, but he can also rock,” Rivers said. “So can Furkan, so Danny Green, and so is Seth Curry.” “He’s only in a line of men that we have. It’s a wonderful luxury. It’s a wonderful luxury to have a guy who can get off the bench and take pictures. Do you know what else? I thought he showed himself a strong defender, which would help move forward.”
Since playing 45 minutes for the Sixers’ seven-man squad on January 9, Joe has shot 17 of 39 (43.6 percent) from a range of three points. We assume he gets another chance soon enough, be it due to another player injury or Rivers’s decision at some point to split his minutes with Korkmaz or Thybulle. As mentioned by Rivers, the rookie winger looked smart and proud of defense, qualities that should bolster his cause to play even if he didn’t drop his flying player.
Therese Maxi drew the initial mission on Kimba Walker. The rookie did not have a favorable start because Walker, in his second match after his return after missing the start of the season with a left knee injury, drained two of his three early throws. Matisse Thybulle teased Walker a little in the second quarter due to his height, constant activity, and annoying rear-sight competitions, but Walker managed to make other players a long-range jumpers. The Sixers were lucky because Walker (19 points) only played 22 minutes and didn’t stay hot after the first half as Boston focused on getting him back into play.
Although the Sixers didn’t have their big men pull back much against Walker, they weren’t prepared to regularly attack him or force the ball out of the hands of the All Four Stars. In a future playoff series, will they play a more aggressive defense against him? We won’t get an answer to that question anytime soon, although we’ll be watching for adjustments at the conclusion of this small series.