Last night’s Sixers win was the biggest regular season victory of the Simmons and Embiid era
With playoff vibes heading into the final matchup of the 1st half, everybody knew we’d get a top quality matchup of the top teams of each conference. What we didn’t know is that we’d get (another) Donovan Mitchell ejection vs the Sixers, another 40 bomb dropped by a Sixers’ player on Rudy Gobert’s head, and arguably the most legendary shot of Joel Embiid’s career.
Last night’s game felt like a dream, and it was a regular season game in March, pre-All Star break. We couldn’t have really asked for much more last night. Another dominant performance from Joel Embiid took place, as he finished with 41 PTS, 19 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 14/27 from the field, and 10/13 from the stripe. If this doesn’t scream MVP to you, then I just don’t know what to tell you anymore. Joel Embiid is just playing outrageous basketball this year, and I can’t remember the last time the Sixers have had a player this dominant.
Good things happen when Embiid has the ball in his hands, with his isolation 3 to take the game to OT is just one example. My first instinct when that shot went through the net was to scream in excitement- but I sort of sat back after I cooled off and thought about it. Something about that shot just felt like a sign. That game tying 3 last night just made it feel like this is the year.
Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris continued to play great basketball in the win. Ben finished with 17/4/6, with some great defense down the stretch to seal the game. Tobias Harris put the team on his back in overtime, scoring 8 consecutive points in the extra 5 minutes to seal the win for the team. Seth Curry added 14 points on 5/7 shooting from the field, with a combined 32 points from Dwight, Furkan, and Shake as well. Mike Scott only finished with 3 points, but the outcome of the game could’ve looked a lot different without that corner 3.
Donovan Mitchell is a baby. 33 points on 34 shots, another ejection against the Sixers, a broken gatorade jug, and an interview that I will truly never forget. Donovan had a big night, and none of it came on the court. Claiming the whole league is “conspiring against the Jazz”, while they sit atop the Western Conference with the best record in the league and only 8 losses is definitely a new one. Donovan said “they won this game”, and “it’s getting f****** ridiculous that this keeps happening”, in regards to the refs screwing them over in games. What he doesn’t want to hear is that he went 0/10 in his last 7 minutes played, with 2 turnovers, and 2 technicals that gifted the Sixers free points to eventually help them seal the win.
2 Big Takeaways:
Grit: The Philadelphia 76ers can beat any team in the league when they play Sixers basketball. Although the shots weren’t falling towards the beginning of the game, and the cold 3 ball played a massive effect, that didn’t stop the Sixers. The goal of an NBA game is to have the most points in one game, not the most 3s. It doesn’t matter how the shots go in, and the Sixers proved that last night. With big layups down the stretch, solid elbow jump shots, fadeaway 2s on the block, and free throws, this team grinds out games. The grit and determination of this Sixers team is unmatched from any other year I’ve ever watched.
The Top 2 Defenders in the League Played in the Same Game Last Night, and neither are named Rudy Gobert: The back and forth between Ben and Rudy for DPOY was a hot topic over the last few days, and I came to a realization last night. We got to watch the top 2 defenders in the league play basketball last night, and neither are named Rudy Gobert. The way that 7 foot Joel Embiid can move his feet by the rim and go up with anyone in the league is truly exciting to watch. Ben Simmons can guard 1 through 5, and matchup against any player in the world and lock them down. The narrative for time has been is the DPOY Rudy or Ben, but the narrative now needs to be…Ben or Joel?
An absolutely electric game to say the least, as the Sixers pull out the thrilling OT win by a final score of 131-123. The Sixers will get some time off now with the All Star Break officially in full swing for the team. The Philadelphia 76ers are in first place in the East at the All Star Break for the first time since 2001, and we all know where the team ended up that year. With some tough stretches taking place in the second half of the year, this break will be a good rest for *most* the team, as they continue to push for the NBA Championship, with fans back at the Center starting on March 14th.
Featured Image: Philadelphia 76ers