The Sixers (15-7) visited the Detroit Pistons (2-21) on Wednesday. Philadelphia wanted to extend its winning streak to four games. Detroit wanted to snap a 20-game losing streak. Joel Embiid went for 41 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists to lead the Sixers in a blowout, 129-111.

Before we get to the game, some notes.

Contextual Notes

The Sixers were without Terq Smith, Javonte Smart, and Ricky Council IV, who are on two-way G League assignments with the Delaware Blue Coats.

Nick Nurse started Tyrese Maxey, De'Anthony Melton, Nico Batum, Tobias Harris, and Embiid.

The Pistons were without Jalen Duren, who has a sprained left ankle.

Monte Morris has a right quadriceps strain and was out. Marvin Bagley III has a sprained right low back and was not available.

Jared Rhoden, Stanley Umude, and Malcolm Cazalon are on two-way assignments with Detroit's G League affiliate and were out.

Monty Williams started Killian Hayes, Cade Cunningham, Ausar Thompson, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Isaiah Stewart.


- Embiid's first quarter provided the exact aesthetic that his detractors point to when they criticize him. He scored 19 points in the first quarter, making up for only eight actual shots with nine free throw attempts.

A parade to the charity stripe is not a brand of basketball that anyone wants to watch. But, at the same time, is there a good reason to not leverage your abilities to get those free points? The bottom line is that there are very few bigs, if any, capable of giving the big guy a hard time. Stewart and James Wiseman most certainly are not two in that category. They know that; Embiid knows it. So, he used his physicality and polish to get himself to the line.

Not only did it get Embiid going, but it also slowed the game down. He and his teammates didn't have to expense energy getting up and down the floor with the young Pistons. It inhibited Detroit from getting into transition offense, something that youthful, bad teams typically like to do when they don't have the personnel to consistently find solutions in the halfcourt setting.

It was a 30-point first half for Embiid. Nine freebies in the opening quarter set the stage for a rather easy first 19 minutes for no. 21.

- Kelly Oubre Jr. needs his own television commercial. Real simple. Just look into the camera and say, "You might think you're a sixth man, but do you have the Kelly Oubre mentality?". Go ahead, laugh at me. It sounded cool in my head. In all seriousness, he has the perfect mindset to be a sixth man.

The best modern sixth men are usually really good shooters. They don't always have the athleticism or length that Oubre has. But, he's an inversion of the modern traits. Oubre is not a great shooter, but he is a confident one. Being a confident shooter makes him a good spacer even if his percentages aren't great because he'll keep shooting without fear of missing.

What makes him a bit different than most of today's sixth men is that he's a slashing wing, both on and off the ball. I've mentioned his sense for cutting behind defenses to restore missed shots off the rim and catch passes from teammates for quick scores at the cup. But, Oubre is also an aggressive driver and ball-handler.

That isn't to say he's mistake-free, of course. He'll dribble himself into trouble from time to time or lose the ball on the move. But, this was his best game since returning because of the diversity with which he scored. Oubre attacked the middle of the paint going to his left and appeared hell-bent on throwing down a dunk that everyone in the building knew had no chance. Later in the first half, he probed a very tight space along the baseline and powered his way to the basket for a layup.

The dunk that never was is a great example of why Oubre is such a good sixth man for this team. He's irrationally confident and unafraid of failure. Sometimes, that can result in "no, no...yes!" shots. You live with those because it also results in the type of aggression that role players often struggle to find - the demand of themselves to get the job done or get fouled trying.

- It has been a nasty struggle of late for Harris. But, it was refreshing to see him take five triples in this game. Not to say that an appropriate volume of threes is the key to Harris filling up the scoring column. But, Harris is capable enough as a perimeter shooter that being a willing launcher changes his fit with this team quite dramatically.

- Perhaps I'm late to the party, but I think the most underrated thing about Patrick Beverley is that he responds to hard contact quite well. Stewart was ejected after levying an aggressive blow on Beverley in the third quarter, taking his frustrations out on the pesky guard. Rather than get up and retaliate, Beverley just smiled, clapped, and walked away. He's not trying to precipitate fights. He's trying to agitate just enough to get you in trouble and then walk away. Some might find that to be annoying and unlikeable. I can understand that perspective. But, I also find it impressive that he's able to control himself when many would have the urge to fight back.

- The Sixers were up 30 in the fourth quarter. Back-to-back such drubbings. I will not buy much of anything Philadelphia does in the regular season, but beating the hell out of the dreck of the league is a good sign.


- The more I watch Paul Reed, the more I question whether his feel for the game will ever develop to the point that he can be a legitimately versatile offensive player. He gets himself into trouble with the dribble often. He tries to attack without an angle, just pushing to the rim and then tossing something up in hopes that it lands on the target. His touch at the rim isn't consistently good, either.

I think it's rather obvious his time in this league will be spent as a reserve with pretty much any team for which he plays. Fortunately for Reed, his athleticism and length on defense do enough to make him trustworthy.

- Took until the fourth quarter for the Sixers to push the lead to 30 points. Geez, what gives?

The Sixers (16-7) will see these Pistons (2-22) again on Friday in Philadelphia. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m., Eastern time. You can catch the game on NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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Gallery Credit: Josh Hennig/Townsquare Media

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