The Philadelphia 76ers destroyed the Houston Rockets 111-91. Statistically, Joel Embiid led Philadelphia with 31 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. For Houston, Christian Wood contributed 14 points and 6 boards. Philadelphia improved to 23-16 on the year and have the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Rockets fell to 11-31 and remained in last place in the Western Conference. Now let’s look at the biggest takeaways from Philly’s dominant win.

Joel Embiid’s Hot Streak Continues

Joel Embiid had another dominant performance on both ends of the floor per usual. The MVP candidate poured in 31 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, shot 9-16 from the field, and hit 13-13 of his free throws. Obviously, Doc Rivers’ game plan was very simple: get Joel Embiid the basketball down low. The big fella couldn’t be stopped whether he was defended by Daniel Theis, Christian Wood, or when faced by a double-team. Evidently, Embiid’s crafty scoring ability was on full display tonight, especially in the first half. Early on, Joel was destroying Daniel Theis and Houston’s defense in the low post. To boot, the Philadelphia center got 10 trips to the foul line in the first quarter alone. 

As well as his interior dominance, Embiid did a lot of damage from the mid-range. Throughout the game, the star was lethal at the baseline area with his fadeaway and sidestep jumpers. Also, Embiid knocked down pull-up jumpers from all over the midrange. What’s more, Joel’s much-improved passing was on point yet again as he contributed 6 assists toward the winning effort. Defensively, Embiid’s rim protection as well as his help defense in the painted area was invaluable tonight. As a collective, Philadelphia played great defense , and much credit is due to Embiid’s interior impact. Overall, another stupendous game from Joel Embiid.

Matisse Thybulle’s Two-Way Impact

Bullying works. Well, at least for Joel Embiid’s teammates it does. During last game’s post-game availability, the 76ers star playfully called out Matisse Thybulle’s lack of confidence. Specifically, Embiid stated that Thybulle needs to attempt more threes rather than pump-faking, so much so that he doesn’t care if he misses. Well tonight, the defensive guard listened to Joel’s advice, and the results were very pleasing. Matisse Thybulle dropped 10 points, shot 4-7 from the field, and hit 2-5 of his shot attempts from beyond the arc. It’s worth mentioning that Matisse displayed much more confidence in his shooting ability tonight. Further, Thybulle launched threes left and right without a care in the world, in a good way. Additionally, the guard got a bucket in the paint, then a thunderous slam in transition after blowing by Christian Wood. 

On the other end, Thybulle was even better. The third-year player had 3 steals, largely due to his lockdown perimeter defense. His defensive assignment, Kevin Porter Jr., finished the night with 8 points on 2-9 shooting from the field in total. Microscopically, Thybulle used his quickness and length to pick the pockets of various Rockets players. Moreover, he responded very well in pick-and-roll situations, and correspondingly Philadelphia’s defense was in sync. Critically, Thybulle needs to keep up this type of offensive production, as he’s so much more dangerous. 

Strong Bench Outings

Philadelphia’s 2nd unit combined for 40 points in their blowout win tonight. Reserve center Andre Drummond led the bench with 13 points, 11 rebounds (5 offensive), and shot 6-8 from the field. Obviously, Drummond had a very solid outing as he provided great value offensively. The veteran big man carved up Houston’s weak interior defense with his physicality and good positioning. In addition to this, Drummond was a great facilitator from within the perimeter, as he found open teammates and cutters. Also, Drummond’s brick-wall screen setting allowed for multiple Philadelphia buckets. To make it even better, Andre had a rather funny rivalry with Rockets’ center Christian Wood. Luckily, Drummond won that matchup on both ends of the floor with his paint presence.

On top of this, Isaiah Joe made his Sixers return tonight after missing a few games. Furthermore, he was sidelined due to a back injury. In his comeback, Joe poured in an inefficient 10 points and knocked down two threes. Without question, Joe served as a reliable option from downtown throughout this game. His catch and shoot threes were on point, and the 2nd-year guard had a nice dunk in the 4th quarter.

Philadelphia will take on the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night (January 12th) at 7:00 pm ET back at Wells Fargo Center.