76ers Weekend Recap: Back to Back wins, Embiid secures scoring title
The final leg of the regular season came down to a whirlwind of a weekend as the 76ers defeated two of the worst teams in the NBA to cement themselves in the fourth seed for playoffs. Without fail, the Sixers found a way to make this weekend about everything other than basketball, but for now, we will recap how these games shaped up and what the outlook is like going forward.
Back to Back Victories for the 76ers
The 76ers were given the opportunity to play two of the weakest teams in The Association to close out the regular season. Luckily, they were able to take care of business and beat both the Pacers and the Pistons this weekend, although it didn’t change much for them going forward.
On Saturday, the 76ers hosted the Pacers and handled them fairly easily on the back of Joel Embiid, who scored 41 points on 14-of-17 shooting from the floor while pulling in 20 rebounds. The entire 76ers’ starting five scored 15+ points in this game and as a team, shot 56% from the floor.
James Harden added 22 points and 14 rebounds in an encouraging performance, and both Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris dropped in 18 points respectively. Firing on all cylinders, the 76ers made slight work of the Pacers in what was their last full-strength game of the season.
Last night the Sixers hosted the Detroit Pistons looking to avenge the ugly loss they suffered just a few weeks ago. Having no real ability to change their playoff position, the Sixers made the wise decision to sit Joel Embiid and James Harden for this game. Philadelphia relied on Tyrese Maxey (25), Shake Milton (30), and Paul Reed (25) to carry the load offensively against Detroit.
Despite being short-handed they won this game handily and in an exciting fashion. Between Maxey flying all over and Paul Reed notching a new career-high in points, it was a fun game to be a part of and a great way to cap off the regular season.
Last night’s game was potentially the final audition for the playoff rotation, and there were some definitive results. Shake Milton absolutely deserves to be involved in the postseason, finding his rhythm at the right time and regaining the once seemingly lost swagger that he carries has put him in a position to help this team.
Paul Reed absolutely should be the first big off the bench specifically in the series against Toronto. Doc Rivers had other ideas, but with how he’s played recently and the evident energy he injects into this team it seems like a no-brainer decision.
Joel Embiid Becomes First Center since Shaquille O’Neal to win the Scoring Title
Before resting on Sunday night, Joel Embiid showed out one last time for everyone in a 41 point, 20 rebound performance against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday afternoon. Granted, the Pacers are terrible and they didn’t even have a resemblance of a competent front court, but the way in which Embiid dominated was incredible. He shot 14/17 from the field in his 36 minutes of play, and Indiana had no answers for him during his final case towards the regular-season MVP award.
With this performance along with Lebron James sidelined, and Giannis Antetokounmpo taking a rest day in their season finale, Embiid was able to clinch the scoring title without having to play in Philadelphia’s last game. Not only is he the only center to win a scoring title since 2000, but he is also only the fourth to do so since 1977 AND he is the first big since Moses Malone to average 30+ points per game for a season.
We witnessed history this season, and regardless of how the MVP award pans out, there has to be the recognition that Joel Embiid is a legend in the making. He has embodied the prior generations of big men and matched that with the finesse and ability of the modern-day guards, he has changed the way people play the game and he should be rewarded for that.
Up Next for the 76ers
Moving into the postseason, the 76ers will be matched up with the Toronto Raptors in the first round. There will be just about a week break due to the play-in tournament, and the Sixers will host the Raptors for Game One on Saturday evening.
- Doc Rivers, Matisse Thybulle headline frustrating final 76ers presser ahead of playoffs
- Joe Embiid rewrites NBA history books, wins the 2021-22 scoring title
- 76ers-Raptors Game 1 will be Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center
- 76ers vs Pistons Recap, and Final NBA Regular Season Standings
Mandatory Credit: 14nooor.net