Embiid and Harden dominate as 76ers complete season sweep of Chicago
The 76ers bounced back from their loss in Miami with a quality victory over the Bulls tonight, by a score of 121-106, completing their regular season sweep of Chicago.
This win keeps Philadelphia undefeated with James Harden on the court, marks their 40th win of the season, at 40-24, and maintains their spot as the second seed in the Eastern Conference, a half game up on the third place Milwaukee Bucks and three games behind the East-leading Miami Heat.
The Sixers swept the regular season series against the Chicago and Joel Embiid maintained his perfect 11-0 record against the Bulls in his career.
Joel Embiid & James Harden
It had been a while since the last time we got a true Embiid masterclass, and this one was a classic.
Embiid matched his first half scoring in the third quarter alone, and finished the night with 43 points, marking his 10th game with 40 points and 10 rebounds this season.
It was a bad night for the Twitter accounts who constantly call Embiid a “Foul Merchant” as he shot 56% from the field on 27 field goal attempts, while also snagging 14 rebounds and blocking three shots.
If anyone in the short time forgot how dominant Embiid can be, this was a prudent reminder and when he spoke with the media after the game he reminded viewers that the 76ers “were not even close to where they want to be” with 18 games left in the regular season.
To the naked eye, James Harden seemed quiet in this game, but when you look closer, his fingerprints were everywhere. He finished with 16 points, 14 assists and eight boards, which easily could have been closer to 18 assists if a few more shots fell on Harden’s elite facilitating.
Regardless, there is such a clear difference with this team when Harden is on the court. He takes control of the offense and makes everyone better, Niang and Thybulle were both in double figures scoring almost solely due to Harden’s distribution of the basketball.
It truly is a luxury to watch.
Tyrese Maxey didn’t light it up tonight in the way he has in recent games, but was still a productive piece in the win. He finished with 17 points after a late effort in the fourth quarter, which simply proves the beauty of this team and his role.
As mentioned, Matisse Thybulle (12) and Georges Niang (14) found their way to double digits in scoring again tonight and they have both been visible beneficiaries to Harden’s facilitation.
Thybulle is being used much more creatively in the pick and roll and finds himself open underneath the basket pretty often. He capped off his night with a huge dunk off a roll which warranted a smile and nod from Harden on their way back down the floor.
Thybulle didn’t notch any steals or blocks in this game, but with his defense and this new found wave of offensive output, there is no doubt that he will play a key role down the stretch and in the playoffs for the 76ers.
Niang has benefited significantly from Harden’s presence, and he added 14 points, and more importantly drilled 4-of-7 shots from beyond the arc. His play style fits perfectly alongside the Sixers duo, and he served his role nicely tonight.
After two days off, the long awaited matchup with the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night awaits. While Ben Simmons will not play in that game, reports came out yesterday that he will in fact join the Nets and be sitting on the bench during the game.
Either way, there is still a significant amount of bad blood between these two teams. Brooklyn has lost 17 of their last 20 games and have been free falling ever since the Harden trade, Philadelphia is looking to continue on their current hot streak and move up in the Eastern Conference standings.
Mandatory Credit: NBC Sports