The Philadelphia 76ers kickstarted a five-game home stretch this week starting off with a Tuesday night game against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Despite getting off to a slower start than expected, Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris put the Sixers on their backs and led their team to a double-digit win over the Pelicans to pick up their 28th win of the year.
After getting the day off on Wednesday night, the Sixers returned to their home court to host the Los Angeles Lakers. At first, it seemed the Lakers were going to be equipped with their superstar duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis as Davis returned to the floor earlier this week after missing several months worth of games.
While Davis got clearance to play as expected, LeBron James was surprisingly scratched from the matchup. On Thursday morning, the Lakers listed James as questionable as he was dealing with knee soreness. A couple of hours before tip-off, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel confirmed that James was not going to get the nod to play against the Sixers.
In the first quarter of action, the Sixers outscored the Lakers by ten with a solid collective effort by Embiid and Harris. While Anthony Davis kept his team in the game with 23 first-half points, the Sixers still maintained a 54-48 lead at halftime.
Coming out for the second half, the Sixers once again took total control of the game as they led by as much as 22 points in the third quarter. The Sixers struggled in the scoring department in the fourth quarter, but at that point, the game was far out of reach for the Lakers.
When it was all said and done, the Sixers dominated the Lakers. Winning 105-87, the Sixers picked up their 29th victory of the season.
76ers vs. Lakers Player Observations
It’s certainly no secret how good Thybulle is on the defensive end. In 28 minutes, the veteran wing collected four steals and blocked a shot. He was all over the place on the floor and also had himself a decent offensive outing as well. While he went scoreless from three, Thybulle shot 4-6 from the field and collected eight points.
Despite dealing with a shoulder issue and a non-COVID illness, Harris had a stellar outing. He scored 23 points in 34 minutes on 10-15 shooting. Harris might’ve had his ups and downs throughout the year, but lately, he’s been a reliable co-star for Joel Embiid.
Speaking of Joel Embiid, he once again led the 76ers in scoring. While his 26 points was a team-high, Thursday’s game wasn’t Embiid’s sharpest performance, especially considering how good he’s been lately. He shot just 9-20 from the field and went 0-5 from three. Typically a consistent free throw shooter, Embiid missed five of his 13 free throws. After the game, Embiid acknowledged he was bound to have what he considers a bad game. Now, he’s looking forward to bouncing back on Saturday.
The Turkish sharpshooter has had some up and down performances as of late. His game on Thursday was on the quiet side as Korkmaz put up just six shots from the field. He drained three shots for six points and went 0-2 from three. It can’t be stated enough -- Korkmaz has to start drilling his threes as that’s where he’s relied on the most.
Scoring-wise, Maxey’s been quiet over the last couple of games. He drained five shots and two free throws for 14 points on Thursday. He didn’t go off with his scoring, but he did collect a double-double for the first time as he notched ten assists. Maxey was on triple-double watch too as he was just three rebounds away.
For the first time in seven games, Green returned to action. Before the game, Doc Rivers made it clear that Green was going to come off the bench on a minutes restriction. He played 15 minutes and looked pretty decent for a guy that hasn’t played in weeks. Draining three of his seven three-point attempts, Green wrapped up the night with nine points.
The veteran forward was a solid spark off the bench for the Sixers on Thursday. In 23 minutes of action, Niang was extremely efficient as he drained five of his seven shots from the field. Four of his makes came from beyond the arc. Overall, Niang finished the night with 14 points, which led Philadelphia’s bench.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.