By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers finally returned home after a successful road trip that resulted in four wins and one loss. They faced the Portland Trailblazers who were looking to get their second victory of the season over them. The Sixers needed an Embiid fadeaway turnaround shot to beat Portland 120-119.
The Blazers jumped on the Sixers from the opening tip-off, they made it rain from the three-point line. Making 15/35 three-pointers and Anfernee Simons made eight of them. On top of that he scored 34-points tonight in his first game since he hurt his ankle in December. He did not show any sign of rust as he was hitting three-pointers and runners with hands in his face that found the bottom net. Philly had no answers for him early on in this game, and they were not able to hit shots throughout most of this game to answer his buckets. Portland on the other hand could not miss thanks to Simons hot shooting and by half-time they were up by 18 and threatening to blow the Sixers off of their home court.
It took Philly awhile to respond because they kept missing very makeable shots and Portland was not missing from the three-point line. However, they were able to weather the storm and Joel Embiid put the team on his back. He scored 39-points and 20 of those points were scored in the first half. Embiid was the lone bright spot in a very bad first half for Philly. Lucky for them they had 24-minutes to get right and it took everybody to get them back in the game. Besides Embiid the second unit came to play tonight specifically Danuel House Jr. who has been riding the bench for a long time, but came to play in this game. He only scored five points but played some pivotal defense on Simons that forced him to miss buckets that allowed James Harden to hit a three-pointer that cut the lead to one-point. Then Joel Embiid showed why he should be the MVP of the league he hit two clutch free-throws and hit a turnaround fadeaway to put the game away for the Sixers. This was another statement victory for Philly who did not have it throughout this game but still found a way to win thanks to Embiid’s 39 and 33-points from the second unit. This really was a team victory for Philly and one they can take inspiration from as the season draws to a close and the playoffs begin.
The Sixers will now prepare for the Washington Wizards on Sunday night, they will need to keep the ball moving to maximize their offensive capabilities against the Wizards. Additionally, on the defensive side Philly will need to stay attached to their man to keep the shooting of Washington in check. If they can do these things, they can get their 45th victory of the season.