By: Kylan Watson
Heading into the final weekend of the season the number three seed in the Eastern Conference is still in reach for the Philadelphia 76ers. They had to take care of business and beat the Indiana Pacers this afternoon to have a chance at it. Philly used a second-half offensive explosion to destroy Indiana 133-120.
The Sixers started the game fast they were able to hit their shots early in the game, and once again were dynamic from the field they hit 54.8% of their shots today. Joel Embiid led them he scored 41-points and grabbed 20-rebounds. He refused to let his team lose this game. He scored 16 points in the third quarter and the Sixers needed all of those points to keep the Pacers down in this game. Indiana had no one available on their roster who could make anything difficult for him on the court. His playmaking continues to be pivotal for Philly as he continues to find his teammates in their hot spots and making teams pay for double or triple-teaming him. If he continues to trust his teammates Philly could be deadly in the playoffs.
On Embiid’s performance this afternoon, “Joel is always in attack mode. That’s great for our team. Tonight he was very, very efficient. He took his time. He was very patient on the offensive end,” said Sixers guard James Harden.
Despite the offensive barrage from Embiid. Indiana continued to fight they were able to make a run in the third and fourth quarters. Oshae Brissett scored 20-points to lead them. He made the Sixers pay for daring to leave him open. He made three three-pointers. Brissett was the player of the game for the Pacers he made shots when they needed it to keep them in the game. Philly was able to get him in early foul trouble and no one else could make them pay throughout this game outside of Brissett.
The Sixers were able to pull-away thanks to some clutch buckets made by Tyrese Maxey (16-points), Tobias Harris (18-points), and James Harden(22-points). They combined for 46 of Philly’s 133-points and when Embiid was resting. Each of them made some tough shots to keep Philly ahead. The Sixers will continue to need them to increase their scoring output if Philly wants to make a deep run in the playoffs.
Philly will now prepare to face the Detroit Pistons in their regular season finale tomorrow night. They will need another balanced scoring night to keep the young Pistons down. Philly will need to improve their perimeter defensive scheme if they want to get their 51st win of the season.