The Philadelphia 76ers dominated the Orlando Magic 123-110 at Wells Fargo Center. As a result, Philadelphia regained 5th place in the Eastern Conference and improved to 26-18 on the year. On the other hand, Orlando fell to 8-38 and remains at the bottom of the East. Joel Embiid led all scorers with 50 points and 12 rebounds on 17-23 shooting from the field.
Joel Embiid Drops 50 Points
Realistically, I could end this article right here because this is all that needs to be said. However, we need to go in-depth on this dominant performance from superstar Joel Embiid. Embiid headlined this game as he tied his career-high of 50 points. In addition to this, he contributed 12 rebounds and 3 blocks on 17-23 shooting from the field all in 27 minutes of action. Moreover, “Emvpiid’s” 50-point double-double was recorded in the fewest number of minutes played since the 1954-1955 season.
From the jump, Joel Embiid went into attack mode. He scored Philadelphia’s first nine points, then proceeded to finish the first quarter with 20 points. Per usual, Jo did his damage from the baseline area and inside the paint. From jumpers to hard earned buckets down low, he couldn’t be stopped. Fast-forward to the third quarter, where Embiid totaled 47 points. He was quite literally unstoppable as he kept attacking possession after possession. In addition to his stats, Joel finished 15-17 from the free-throw line. Evidently, Robin Lopez was no match for Philadelphia’s MVP candidate.
Considering the 76ers were up 94-80 entering the final period, it was questionable whether Embiid would re-enter the game or not. At the 6:26 mark of the fourth quarter, Embiid knocked down a crucial free-throw that gave him 50 points. Afterward, he missed the following free-throw, then subbed out of the game. Obviously, it was a legendary night for the big fella.
Philadelphia’s 2nd Half Dominance
Mo Bamba is Like That?
It was a very bizarre and frustrating second quarter for the Philadelphia 76ers to say the least. Unexpectedly, Magic center Mo Bamba erupted from beyond the arc. At the intermission, he was up to a career-high 28 points and shot 7-8 from three-point land. This was the result of Bamba’s eye-catching shooting and poor perimeter defense from the 76ers. Often, Andre Drummond and Embiid gave Bamba plenty of space from the perimeter and he made them pay multiple times. Bamba finished with 32 points (career-high) on 12-15 shooting from the field. On top of this, Philadelphia lacked urgency defensively and the offense was just a mess. Further, the Sixers’ 2nd unit was careless with the ball, stagnant, and Tobias Harris’ isolation scoring was the only thing going for them.
Embiid says he told Mo Bamba that he wouldn’t do anything in the second half on his [Embiid’s] watch.— Austin Krell (@NBAKrell) January 20, 2022
However, in the third quarter, the 76ers looked like an entirely different team. On top of Embiid’s masterclass, the team’s activity off ball such as cutting and screen-setting was critical to Philly’s third quarter takeover. Though it was mainly Embiid, Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey upped their production throughout this period. Furthermore, Maxey’s three-point shooting was invaluable around this time because Orlando started doubling Joel right out of the gate. Tyrese finished with 14 points (6-10 FG) and Harris finished with an under the radar 21 points (8-13 FG).
Defensively, the 76ers were slightly better, but still moderately struggled. They defended the pick-and-roll very well with Embiid’s elite rim protection. However, Philly’s transition defense was rather lazy, which led to a few flashy dunks from Cole Anthony. Additionally, the 76ers’ perimeter defense struggled to handle Anthony and Jalen Suggs’ rim pressure, as they got to the rim with ease. However, Orlando’s offense was stagnant in the second half and their shooting turned stone cold. The 76ers went on to out-score the Magic 76-53 in the second half.