Sixers observations

3 observations after Embiid posts 30-point triple-double, Sixers blow out Lakers

The Sixers knocked down 22 three-pointers Monday night.

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Joel Embiid came one assist short of a sixth career triple-double Saturday in the Sixers’ win over the Thunder.

He got further than flirting with a triple-double Monday.

Embiid posted 30 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds in a 138-94 victory against the Lakers at Wells Fargo Center. He was able to watch the whole fourth quarter from the Sixers' bench.

Tyrese Maxey had 31 points and eight assists.

The 10-8 Lakers were led by LeBron James (18 points) and Anthony Davis (17 points, 11 rebounds).

Kelly Oubre Jr. (fractured rib), Danuel House Jr. (left quad contusion) and Jaden Springer (illness) were out for the Sixers.

Sixers head coach Nick Nurse told reporters pregame that Oubre participated in the team’s morning shootaround. 

Nurse said he was unsure whether Oubre would practice Tuesday and potentially join the Sixers for their upcoming two-game road trip to New Orleans and Boston. 

The Lakers’ Rui Hachimura, Jarred Vanderbilt, Gabe Vincent and Cam Reddish were out with injuries. 

The 12-5 Sixers will visit the Pelicans on Wednesday night. Here are observations on their blowout win over the Lakers: 

Foul trouble for Embiid? No trouble for Sixers 

Davis was aggressive early in his matchup against Embiid, hitting a couple of jumpers and scoring six of L.A.’s first eight points.

As a team, the Lakers began 6 for 7 from the field. They went up 11-6 on a James transition three. 

The Sixers’ situation then appeared to worsen considerably with 8:08 left in the first quarter when Davis drew Embiid’s second foul by driving into the reigning MVP’s chest and getting a generous whistle. As a silver lining for the Sixers, Davis missed the two ensuing free throws. 

Nurse took the risk of keeping Embiid in the game despite his two quick fouls. That decision panned out brilliantly. 

When the Sixers played zone defense, the Lakers struggled to hit jumpers against it. And when Robert Covington subbed in and guarded Davis, L.A. failed to attack crisply and sustain Davis’ early success. The Sixers put Embiid on players the team didn’t mind shooting open jumpers — second-year guard Max Christie, then big man Jaxson Hayes —and had him send hard help at Davis once he caught the ball. There’s always some luck involved whenever a scheme results in non-stars having clean looks, but the adjustment was still smart. Nurse will presumably file it away as being among his playoff options if Embiid faces foul trouble. 

The Sixers’ offense was excellent for the remainder of the first quarter, too. Embiid, who picked up no more fouls all night, scored a put-back layup to cap a 20-2 run.

He was especially productive in tandem with Maxey. The pair played a patient, savvy two-man game, frequently finding windows for Maxey to zoom off Embiid handoffs into open space. Almost every read the duo made was spot-on. In the first half, Maxey and Embiid combined for 37 points, 13 assists and zero turnovers. 

Jumpers falling from everywhere

Thanks to Maxey and the Sixers’ bench, the team’s lead continued expanding early in the second quarter.

Patrick Beverley was glad to take the jump shots L.A. gave him and knocked a couple down. He finished the night 4 for 8 from long range. Entering the game, he'd gone just 3 for 22 this season.

Marcus Morris Sr. also had a hot start to the second period, sinking three long-distance jumpers. After Embiid came back in and drained his second three-pointer, the Sixers’ advantage was 64-39 and they had 13 made threes to the Lakers’ one. The final margin was 22-7 and the Sixers wound up one three-pointer shy of their franchise record.

The Lakers didn’t offer much resistance and allowed the Sixers tons of comfortable possessions. Still, the Sixers deserve credit for high-quality execution and confident shooting that likely would’ve left most opponents in a significant hole. 

The Sixers closed the first half poorly, though. Tobias Harris had the ball slip from his hands on a fast-break layup, D’Angelo Russell capitalized with a three-pointer seconds later, and the Lakers ultimately cut their deficit to 15 at halftime. 

Nothing to be nervous about  

James scored a driving layup to open the third quarter, Tauren Prince made two threes, and the Sixers’ lead dwindled to 74-63.

While James and Davis often looked dangerous, the Sixers’ offense was far too good for a Lakers comeback to be viable. De’Anthony Melton made a trio of three-pointers over the first five minutes of the third quarter. 

Beverley and Covington's defensive effort was also impactful, and their pursuit of offensive rebounds hammered home that the Sixers weren't going to blow a huge lead. On the first possession of the fourth quarter, Paul Reed tipped up a Maxey miss, Beverley eventually snagged it, and Morris made a second-chance three.

Embiid in the third quarter was composed and very effective facilitating from the middle of the floor, waiting for help defenders to come and spraying the ball to shooters. He also dished to Nicolas Batum for a dunk after drawing a double team at the nail.

With under four minutes left in the contest, Reed sunk a three for the second straight game, stretching the Sixers' lead to 31 points. Clearly, the Sixers had a lot to like Monday night.

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