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The Philadelphia 76ers and the New Orleans Pelicans faced off for a second time this season on Tuesday night. Although the two teams were set to match up against one another last month, the Sixers couldn't meet the NBA's eight-man minimum of players available as they dealt with injury and COVID-related setbacks.

Therefore, the Sixers and the Pelicans went to battle on Tuesday. The first time these two teams met was during the season-opener. At the time, the Sixers defeated the Pelicans with ease as they collected a 117-97 victory.

The circumstances were much different that time around. Sixers center Joel Embiid, who's been on a tear lately, played for just 25 minutes in that first matchup. He scored 22 points going against guys like Jonas Valanciunas and Jaxson Hayes.

Meanwhile, Pelicans center Willy Hernangomez didn't log a single minute on the court. When the Sixers and the Pelicans met on Tuesday, things changed. Valanciunas didn't play as he was ruled out beforehand. That resulted in Hernangomez getting the nod to start against one of the NBA's hottest centers in Joel Embiid.

Hernangomez held his own and had a solid performance himself on the offensive end. The veteran center put up 21 points in 15 minutes in the first half. On defense, he helped the Pelicans hold Joel Embiid to 18 points.

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Although Hernangomez's second-half offensive performance didn't match his first-half production, he still had a solid night as he finished with a double-double by putting up 29 points and coming down with ten rebounds. After the game, he credited the strength of the competition as the motivating factor for his impressive showing.

"As a player, you always try to challenge yourself cause you wanna play the best players every night," Hernangomez said. "Today, you know, same as yesterday I was watching all of the feed of Embiid. You know, I would always like to play against him. He's one of the best centers in the league, if not the best."

The Pelicans big man put on a good effort, but Embiid's second-half performance didn't make matters easy for New Orleans. As Hernangomez and the rest of the Pelicans attempted to get more aggressive on Embiid in the final two quarters, they found out that might be a lot more challenging than they initially thought.

"I think I tried to do my best, honestly," Hernangomez continued. "I'm exhausted, and he still got 40. But he's a one-of-a-kind player. It's always a pleasure to play against him. I learn in many ways, you know, and he gave me confidence as well. You know if I say, 'I can do that against Embiid, why not against the next body?' So, I'm just ready for the next game."

Embiid wrapped up Tuesday night's game with 42 points in 33 minutes. It marked the fifth game this year Embiid accounted for over 40 points. Without his second-half dominance, the shorthanded Pelicans probably upset the Sixers on Tuesday night in South Philly. But as we've learned time and time again, the Sixers always have a chance to win when Embiid's on the floor no matter who's on the other side.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.