December 10, 2023

Joel Embiid scores 45 in overtime win over Heat


Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons, right, drives against Miami Heat's Chris Silva, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Oh my goodness, what a game! The Philadelphia 76ers have snuck a win by the Miami Heat as the Sixers win in overtime 137-134.

The Sixers finally snapped their three game losing streak as they start to gain some players back. The Sixers got back Ben Simmons and he, well, he struggled all right. Simmons finished the game with only five points. He put up one shot in the first half. Simmons and Tyrese Maxey both fouled out of the game.

But Joel Embiid on the other hand, finished with a season high 45 points. Danny Green finished with nine three pointers, one short of a franchise record.

It was at the end of overtime, 26.1 seconds left, when Dakota Mathias made the game winning three.

Let’s go over five main points of this game in my five observations:

Joel, Freaking, Embiid

Joel Embiid went off! In the first half you didn’t Embiid’s name very much. He had ten points, but it wasn’t much of anything at the time. But in the third quarter, that all changed. Embiid took over in the third quarter, scoring 20 points in the quarter. Embiid finished inside, made turnaround jumpers, drew fouls, and did anything else he wanted to do. His matchups against rookie Precious Achiuwa and Chris Silva were undoubtedly favored for Embiid, but he nevertheless was very impressive, especially on the second night of a back-to-back. In overtime, Embiid, once again, played at the superstar level he’d reached in the third quarter, hitting tightly contested jumpers and carrying the Sixers’ offense. His final stat line: 45 points, 16 rebounds, five steals, four assists. What a night by the big man.

Mikey Scot & Danny Green

Danny Green and Mike Scott combined to shoot 0 for 12 from beyond the three-point arch in Atlanta. it turns out, Green and Scott were the Sixers’ most productive offensive players in the opening half, totaling 25 of the team’s 55 points. Green kept it going after halftime, scoring 29 points and making 9 of 21 threes in the game. If Green made one more three, he would’ve had a franchise record for most threes in a game. During a chaotic sequence at the end of regulation, Green missed a potential go-ahead three and Embiid was fouled after grabbing an offensive rebound. Sixers head coach Doc Rivers then drew up an isolation at the top of the key for Embiid against Achiuwa on the ensuing side out-of-bounds play, and he came through with a pull-up jumper from the left elbow to tie the game. Scott and Green soared Tuesday night.

Simmons’ Struggles

Ben Simmons did a good job creating three-point opportunities for his teammates, as he usually does, but was poor otherwise offensively in the first half. He only attempted one field goal, turned the ball over five times and picked up three fouls, including two charges. We can’t say much from a single game in which 18 total players were active. Still, even with his recent injury in mind, it’s obviously fair to say Simmons wasn’t near his best on this particular night, at all. He fouled out with 3:29 remaining in regulation and finished with five points, six rebounds and 12 assists. A disappointing night by Ben Simmons.

Defensive Mistakes

It was assumed the Sixers would stifle the Heat’s offense with both Simmons and Embiid in the lineup. The team had a strong 102.7 defensive rating when its two stars were on the floor this season, per Cleaning The Glass, and Miami was missing important playmakers in Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Goran Dragic. Surely, against a depleted opponent, the Sixers would resemble the team that led the league in defensive rating early this season. Well, we were wrong. The Sixers allowed Miami’s sharpshooters to many open looks, struggling to track players around screens, helping excessively or simply not close out with sufficient urgency, and they also committed several costly fouls on jump shooters. This got long time Sixers TV broadcaster Marc Zumoff very annoyed. As we saw tonight, Embiid and Simmons being on the court doesn’t guarantee defensive success. The Sixers still need to pay attention to the details on that end of the court. The team’s effort was a bit better in the second half, although Herro, Duncan Robinson, and player Gabe Vincent all scored over 20 points and helped Miami come close to an improbable win. But thankfully the Sixers offense pulled out the win.

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