The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Miami Heat 109-98. Joel Embiid led Philadelphia with 32 points and 12 rebounds on 12-22 (54.5%) shooting from the field. For Miami, Omer Yurtseven led them in scoring with 22 points and 11 rebounds on 10-12 (83.3%) shooting from the field. The Sixers improved to 25-17 on the season and remain in 5th place in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Heat fell to 27-16 and stayed in 3rd place in the East.
Joel Embiid’s Strong 2nd Half
First things first, Joel Embiid was listed as questionable for this game because of right elbow soreness. Obviously, Embiid went through his pre-game workout and ended up playing. The star center finished with 32 points, 12 rebounds, and shot 54.5% (12-22) from the field. After the game, Embiid acknowledged his struggles in the 1st half by jokingly saying he was “the worst player in basketball in that 1st half”. (via NBC Sports Philadelphia)
"I was the worst player in basketball in that first half." 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/vwOFtQkNcQ— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 16, 2022
In the 1st half, Joel Embiid struggled offensively. He had only 7 points on 3-11 (27.3%) shooting from the field heading into the 3rd quarter. It seemed as if Embiid was forcing his shots, as he had a few questionable attempts. Furthermore, Joel’s court vision and decision-making struggled against Miami’s double teams in the post. However, he finally got it going in the 2nd half.
Joel Embiid significantly upped his performance in the 2nd half. Offensively, Embiid couldn’t be stopped in the midrange nor the post. The MVP candidate nailed fadeaways and pull-up jumpers left and right. In the 4th quarter, Embiid poured in 12 points on 83.3% (5-6) shooting from the field. What’s more, Joel is the first NBA player to record 10 consecutive 30-point games on the road since James Harden in 2018.
Joel Embiid Got Some Help
Joel Embiid may have led Philadelphia in scoring, but the 76ers wouldn’t have won without the efforts from Tobias Harris and Seth Curry. The trio of Embiid, Harris, and Curry impressively combined for 75 points out of Philly’s total of 109.
Tobias Harris contributed 22 points and 8 rebounds on 69.2% (9-13) shooting from the field. On top of this, Harris was 3-3 from beyond the arc. In the 1st half, Harris’ scoring and three-point shooting carried a rather stagnant 76ers offense. He led Philadelphia in scoring with 15 points heading to the break. To boot, 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said Harris “saved” Philly’s offense in the 1st half. (via Ky Carlin of USA Today)
Seth Curry dropped 21 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and shot 53.3% (8-15) from the field. Also, Curry was 5-9 (55.6%) from three-point land, which was invaluable for the Sixers. Like Joel Embiid, Curry got into rhythm in the 3rd quarter, as he hit three triples in this period. In addition to this, Seth hit arguably the most important shot of the game, which was his buzzer-beating three at the end of the 3rd quarter. This bucket gave Philly the lead and a great amount of momentum heading into the find period.
CLUTCH CURRY. 🌶️ pic.twitter.com/ek2W80EHjQ— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) January 16, 2022
Philadelphia’s Intensified Defense
Alongside Joel Embiid’s dominant performance, Philadelphia’s defense was the main reason for their victory. Miami shot 38.4% from the field and 25.7% from beyond the arc. Further, the Heat turned the ball over 10 times and Philadelphia had 15 points off of them. Additionally, Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry were a combined 3-21 from the field. Also, Duncan Robinson was surprisingly 0-8 from three. In the 2nd half, Philadelphia’s help defense, rim protection, and shot contesting caused Miami to struggle. Considering the 76ers were on the second part of a back-to-back this effort was even more impressive.
What’s more, two-way guard Charlie Brown Jr. was very good defensively. Statistically, Brown had 2 deflections and contested 4 shots. What made this defensive performance so noticeable was Brown’s hustle and scrappiness. Charlie’s perimeter defense and his ability to close out on shooters were on point tonight. Also, Brown made things difficult for Tyler Herro because of his perimeter defense.
Charlie Brown Jr. has played some excellent defense against Tyler Herro. Nice deflection here.— Harrison Grimm (@Harrison_Grimm) January 16, 2022
The 76ers will head out to Washington D.C. on Monday to take on the Washington Wizards at 2:00 pm ET in an MLK Day special.