Dissecting what has worked for 76ers during their six-game winning streak
As we approach the midway point of this NBA season, it is safe to say the 76ers have had a very back-and-fourth first half of the year.
With multiple issues with health and safety protocols to figuring out the identity of this team without Ben Simmons, the Sixers have dealt with a fair share of down moments. With those down moments, like any team in the league, come with high points. At no point so far this season have I felt better about the 76ers than during this six-game win streak.
So what’s been working so well for Philly?
Joel Embiid’s Utter Domination
No beating around the bush on this one, this 76ers run starts and stops with Joel Embiid. The man has scored 30-plus points throughout the Sixers win streak, effectively putting the team on his back.
Embiid joined Allen Iverson in the elite 76ers company of players to score 30 or more points in eight-straight road games, with four of those coming on the win-streak. Furthermore, Embiid is now the sole-leader in triple-doubles for Sixers centers all-time after grabbing his third against the Rockets.
There’s no other way to put it, Embiid has been simply dominant in every facet of the game. We all know about the points, but Embiid’s shooting splits make it all even crazier. Embiid is shooting near 58-percent from the field in the six-game span, which includes the Wizards game where he shot 12-17 from the field to kick off the win-streak.
What really puts the cherry on top, is Embiid’s three point shooting. Just when you thought Embiid couldn’t get any more un-guardable, he went ahead and cashed nearly 40-percent of his threes on nearly three attempts a game.
Throw in the fact he’s averaging a whole extra assist higher than his career total this season and that he continues to come up in the clutch on both ends of the court and you can truly understand how dominant Embiid’s been.
Joel has notched at least one block in every win during the streak, including a game-sealing block against the Magic in the clutch. Any way you look at it, we are watching the peak version of Embiid in every facet of the game.
The Emergence of a New Big Three: Seth Curry and Tobias Harris
While Tobias Harris has been in headlines for the way he reacted to Sixers’ fans booing his poor play, he and Seth Curry have stepped up to support Embiid and the 76ers during their win-streak.
Seth Curry is averaging just over 16-points over the winning streak, while continuing to prove he’s much more than a three-point shooter. He’s shooting 50-percent from the field and nearly 40-percent from deep on the year, and has even added another layer to his game with the absence of Ben Simmons.
Against the Magic, Curry finished the game just three rebounds shy of his first career triple-double, with 20 points, 12 assists, and seven boards. The 76ers have played with the idea of Curry in a passing role, and to see him come out and dish 12 dimes shows once again that Curry is much more than what Daryl Morey traded for back in 2020.
Speaking of that Magic game, Tobias Harris would complete the big three trifecta, scoring 22 points to give Embiid, Curry, and Harris all 20-plus points in the win. While Harris has still remained streaky despite the 76ers’ recent success (just nine points on 4-14 shooting in the win against Brooklyn) he has put together some solid performances in the latest two contests.
The Magic game saw Harris get back to more decisive decision making, especially with shooting the three ball. Harris knocked down three of his six triples in that win, and would notch another 23 points in the Spurs win last Friday.
The Supporting Cast Excelling in their Respective Roles
While the big three of Embiid, Harris, and Curry have certainly put together some quality starts during the 76ers six-game win streak, they can’t be on the court all game. Luckily for them, there are guys that have stepped in and excelled off the bench.
What makes it particularly important to mention is how each player has fit their respective molds. Whether its Thybulle’s defense, Korkmaz’s offense, or Georges Niang’s hot shooting, each 76ers role player has understood their assignment and excelled over the past few weeks.
Georges Niang has a case for best 76ers off-season addition, and it all comes down to the shooting spark he’s brought off the bench for Philly. No game is a better example than the win in Toronto. The Raptors led for a majority of this game, especially in the first half, but Niang was able to come off the bench and hit big shots.
Niang finished with 19 points, while knocking down five triples in the win. Niang routinely gives the 76ers shooting an edge off the bench and will be a key part of the Sixers success as the season continues.
Furkan Korkmaz’s performance for a solid month was so bad it was honestly safer to keep him on the bench. His shooting splits have been absolutely horrendous, but even after enduring a horrendous slump, the Turkish Delight has been able to right the ship as of late.
Korkmaz was the fourth member to join the 20-point club in the Magic win with a 20-piece of his own. He was thrusted into the starting lineup thanks to the loss of Thybulle and Maxey with health and safety protocols, and managed to deliver. Korkmaz’s ability to get hot from multiple spots on the offensive end has proven vital to the Sixers success.
While Matisse Thybulle has missed a majority of the wins due to COVID protocols, his return against the Spurs last Friday showed how important it is to have him on the court.
Thybulle notched another multiple-steal game in the win, but what stood out more was his shooting splits. Thybulle shot a perfect 5/5 from the field including a three for 12 points.
Like everyone at the Liberty Line has said for months, if Thybulle can knock down open looks he gets combined with his elite defense, he will become the 76ers starting shooting guard.
Hell, Joel even wants him to shoot more of his open looks especially from deep.
There are a ton of underlying factors to the success of the 76ers during the six-game win streak and for the future of the team this season.
Top to bottom, there is a ton of young potential, a big three with serious scoring ability, and a superstar center that all contribute in different ways.
Keep in mind Tyrese Maxey still factors in to this squad’s success even during the win-streak where he dropped 25 points against the Nets.
This set of wins provides a blueprint to the 76ers of how to make their mark on the rest of the league, and who knows where the ceiling could truly lie with this team.
Mandatory Credit: Tim Nwachukwu.