3 Observations After Record-Setting Embry Stars In Eighth Consecutive Win originally appeared nbc sports philadelphia
The milestones keep collapsing and the NBA’s hottest team keeps winning.
Joel Embiid sets a new one The Sixers franchise record for consecutive games with at least 30 points exceeded that number for the ninth straight time Saturday night in a 141-121 win over the Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
He had 31 points on 10-for-15 shooting, seven assists, seven rebounds and two blocks in the Sixers’ eighth consecutive win.
Tyrese Maxi scored 31 points and Tobias Harris scored 24 points.
Aaron Nesmith posted a career-high 25 points for the Pacers, who fell to 32–39.
On the second night of back-to-back games, the 48-22 Sixers were down to James Harden (recovering from injury) and PJ Tucker (sore left ankle). Indiana’s Tyrese Halliburton, Benedict Maturin and Chris Duarte sat out with injuries.
Here are the comments on the final Sixers win of the 3-0 road trip:
Melton a stellar replacement starter
The Sixers started D’Anthony Melton and Daniel House Jr. in place of Harden and Tucker. It was House’s third start as a Sixer and his first since November 19.
Myles Turner scored Indiana’s first four points and the Sixers struggled early on both ends. Melton and House failed to connect in transition, wasting a fast-break opportunity. After House missed a reverse layup attempt, Jordan Navora made a corner three-pointer to give the Pacers a 12–4 lead.
Sixers head coach Doc Rivers called a timeout, and his team immediately went on a 14–0 run against Indiana. That surge included threes by Maxi, House and Harris as well as coast-to-coast runs by Melton Lepp. The Sixers’ defense also improved significantly. House did solid work on the possession against Turner in the post, forcing a well tackled fumble, and Melton picked TJ McConnell’s pocket twice. The 24-year-old converted a second steal into a buzzer-beating dunk that put the Sixers up 34–24. He’s clearly a good player to play when you’re hoping to extend some good possessions into a big, game-shifting run.
In 34 high-quality minutes, Melton had 14 points, six steals, five assists and five rebounds.
maxi dangerous everywhere
To open the second quarter, the Sixers used maxi in Harden’s niche position along with four bench players.
He was exceptionally strong and confident in that role; The third-year guard posted 22 first-half points on 9-for-11 shooting and scored with ease at all three levels. Maxi’s apparent ability to score from anywhere was a reminder of his career-high 44-point performance against the Raptors in late October. He showed plenty of variation with lefty lay-ins, banked-in runners, and fluid pull-up threes.
Harris, Shaq Milton and Georges Niang also produced efficient offense during a 38-point second quarter for the Sixers. However, with Embiid on the bench, the team’s defense declined as expected. Paul Reed got two quick fouls, which led to Dwayne Deadman coming into the rotation for the first time since he was signed by the Sixers a month earlier; The 33-year-old played a little less than three second-quarter minutes. Reed had a hilarious time in the fourth and finished with 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting.
Jalen McDaniels returns after missing the last two games with a right hip injury. His movement seemed tentative at times, but McDaniels took advantage on the Sixers’ final first-quarter possession when the Pacers fixated on a Milton-Embiid pick-and-roll and left him free for a one-and-one layup. McDaniels ultimately played 16 minutes and scored seven points.
Embiid in full command
Embiid was happy to attract double teams and find open shooters throughout the night from his office on Kiel.
He also had no trouble for mid-range jumpers in isolation against Turner. In the third quarter, Embiid intercepted Maurice Cheeks on eighth down. Sixers all-time scoring list. When the Pacers reasonably sent more offensive help in Embiid on the Sixers’ next possession, he turned the ball over to Melton on the left wing. Melton unselfishly followed it up with Maxi, whose corner three extended the Sixers’ lead to 15 points.
Given how well Embiid and the Sixers shoot free throws, any significant reduction has to be especially discouraging for opponents who already know his talent is underwhelming and the other team’s undeniable dominance. Se is the best player on the court. The Sixers entered Saturday night with an NBA-best 83.4 free throw percentage. Embiid is at 85.5 percent this season, after a 10-for-13 outing.
Impressively, the Sixers needed Embiid for 4th quarter minutes in their back-to-back sweeps Charlotte and Indiana. If they beat the Bulls on Monday in Philadelphia, they will have the longest winning streak of the season.