The Sixers’ loss slipped under the radar amidst the excitement of the Eagles game, but a Sixers win yesterday would have been a much-needed boost for us all.

Embiid Did What Embiid Does

Yet another day where Embiid has more points than minutes played. He is on track to become the first player since Wilt Chamberlain himself to do that over the course of a season. Just a dominant player doing dominant things.

In yesterday’s game, Embiid had 40 points on 53% shooting, 14 rebounds, and 6 assists. For any other player in the league, that would be an astonishing stat line, but for Embiid, that’s normal. He has dulled our senses to phenomenal basketball.

From the first possession of the game, Embiid made his presence known. He has a typical layup down in the restricted area, followed by a strong shot contest against Patrick Williams which provided an open fastbreak 3 for Maxey to put the Sixers up 9-2 in just over 3 minutes.

Embiid adds something to his game every year. With the help of Nick Nurse, he has been receiving more of the high-low passes for easy buckets in the paint. This has been a very important facet to his game this year. He has new teammates that know how to give him that pass, and he has learned to positions himself much better to put himself in the path for an easy bucket or an and-1. For example:

Unfortunately for Embiid, basketball is a team game, and other than Maxey, he did not get much help from said team.

Maxey’s Contributions

Maxey had a strong night from the 3-point line. He shot 45.5% from 3 while surprisingly shooting 39.1% overall. He still ended up with 29 points, but it would be nice to see him convert more opportunities in the paint. It looks like teams are adapting to his speed and small stature to keep him from getting easy buckets.

Alex Caruso had a nice chasedown block on Maxey here:

Once Caruso saw Maxey gather and take the contact, he knew exactly what was going to happen. Maxey’s shot selection in the paint still needs some growth. It wouldn’t have been easy, but he could have found Melton for a much easier shot in that situation. After that Caruso block, the Bulls starting to get momentum. That seemed like a game-changing moment.

The Rest of the Team

The rest of the game was very tightly contested, but the rest of the Sixers team was somehow outmatched by a shorthanded Bulls team.

Outside of Maxey and Embiid, not one player had double digit scoring, and only Paul Reed had more than 6 points. Not many teams will win with that type of production coming from the role players.

Tobias Harris’s performance showcased the biggest disappearance during the game. He only attempted 3 shots the whole 32 minutes he played. That is flat-out unacceptable for a guy making 39 million dollars this year. An outing like that simply cannot be tolerated by Nick Nurse. Paul Reed should never be the third leading scorer on this team. Ever. Tobias needs to step up. He will work his way into a significant pay decrease this coming season if he continues to put up single digit games.

The Sky is Not Falling

While the attitude around Philadelphia is definitely doom and gloom (and rightfully so), there is nothing to be worried about for this team. Benches occasionally have bad nights, and one of these days Embiid might have a bad night; though it does not look like that will happen anytime soon. Most importantly: Embiid still dominated.

Nikola Vucevic is no slouch. Nobody considers him a top tier center, but he can hold his own. In the past, Embiid has struggled against the Vucevic’s of the NBA. Big frames, strength, and length used to slow him down. Now, he has expanded his game to counter those types of players. It has been very encouraging seeing another year of development from the big man.

The NBA season is 82 games long. The Sixers can afford to lose only their second game this month (and only their first with Embiid). They are a great team. Even great teams lose.



Picture: Skyler Carlin/SportsbookWire

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