By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers were riding high as they had firm control of first place in the Eastern Conference. After beating the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night. They had revenge on their minds as they faced the Los Angeles Clippers tonight. It took some suffocating defense and a strong offensive surge to keep the Clippers down tonight. Philly beat them 106-103.
Philly dominated the Clippers from the opening tip-off. As they went on a 20-3 scoring run powered by center Joel Embiid. He had 15 of his 36-points by half-time. He imposed his will on both sides of the ball and it didn’t matter who the Clips put on him. They could not stop him. Embiid has been on a tear since returning from injury scoring 30 plus points in his last three games. If he continues on this run Philly will be able to maintain first place in the East and may have a strong playoff run.
On Embiid’s performance, “I don’t think teams know what to do when they’re guarding him. I think he’s clearly the MVP this season,” said Ben Simmons.
If it wasn’t Embiid going off, it was Furkan Korkmaz he scored nine of his 17-points by half-time. He was on fire from three-point range. He hit a team high four three-pointers and took full advantage of the opportunity he had. The Sixers were missing forward Tobias Harris (hip-flexor), and Seth Curry (hip-flexor). Korkmaz has been surging since the All-Star break he has upped his scoring average to 16-points per game and now has his three-point percentage up to 41%.
Los Angeles kept fighting though and late in the third quarter they opened the flood gates on Philly. Powered by forward Paul George. He scored 37-points and was the main scoring cog for the Clippers. The Sixers did not have any answers for him. He was able to dominate the game on both sides of the ball. When the Philly defenders would run him off the three-point line he was able to attack the paint. Thanks to his work they were able to cut the Sixers lead to one early in the fourth quarter.
The Clippers were able to retake the lead thanks to a go-ahead three-pointer from Patrick Patterson who scored 18-points and hit five three-pointers. The Sixers were able to retake the lead thanks to a late three-pointer by guard Shake Milton. It took some stifling perimeter defense from Philly to keep LA at bay. Philly put Ben Simmons on George to shut him down. The length of Simmons clearly bothered him. As he wasn’t able to get clean looks. He was forced into some very difficult shots.
It wasn’t only Simmons, as the length of Philly’s other defenders bothered the rest of the Clippers as well. Sixers were able to stifle every other Clipper not named George or Patterson. That was the difference here. Philly also was able to force LA into four uncharacteristic turnovers late in the game.
The Sixers now will get a few days off to regroup and prepare to face the Golden State Warriors on Monday night. They will need another strong night on both sides of the ball to keep Steph Curry and the rest of the Warriors shooters in check.