Embiid Dominates Again as Sixers Outlast Clippers
The Sixers just keep on winning and Joel Embiid just keeps on dominating.
Down two starters, the Sixers still managed to hang on to beat the Clippers, 106-103, at the Wells Fargo Center Friday night. The win improves the East-leading Sixers to 39-17.
While the Sixers were missing Tobias Harris (right knee soreness), Seth Curry (left hip flexor tightness) and Dwight Howard (left knee soreness), the Clippers were without Kawhi Leonard (sore right foot), Patrick Beverley (left-hand fracture) and Serge Ibaka (lower back tightness).
The Sixers started the game on a 20-3 run. The Clippers, the best three-point shooting in the NBA, hit 8 of 20 from beyond the arc but struggled to get anything else going. The Sixers held L.A. to just 37.2 percent from the field overall.
With Furkan Korkmaz and Mike Scott in the lineup, the Sixers were firing away from three. They’ve been in the bottom third of the league all season in attempts, but the Sixers took 29 in the first half. Still, Embiid was the focal point with 15 points and nine rebounds before halftime. Rookie Tyrese Maxey gave the bench a nice boost, with seven of his nine points coming in the first half.
The Sixers took a 59-47 lead into the locker room.
Paul George scored 17 first-half points but went just 6 of 15. Then in the third, George willed the Clippers back into the game. George had 15 of L.A.’s 30 points in the period and assisted on four other baskets. The Clippers were within four going in the final quarter.
Then it was Patrick Patterson’s turn. The reserve big man scored a season-high 18 points, knocking down 5 of 8 from three. On too many possessions the Sixers lost Patterson and L.A.’s bevy of excellent shooters. It led to the Clippers actually taking a one-point lead.
It wasn’t pretty down the stretch offensively for the Sixers as L.A. began to aggressively double team Embiid on every touch. The Sixers would retake the lead with 3:38 left on a Shake Milton three.
From there the Sixers hung on for dear life. They went up 104-98 with 47.7 seconds left on a nice and-one by Korkmaz (18 points) off a pretty – albeit risky – outlet pass from Ben Simmons. The play looked like a possible dagger until the Clippers ripped off the next five points.
L.A. was forced to foul and Danny Green hit two big free throws to put the Sixers up three. With 9.8 seconds left, Green tightly guarded Marcus Morris on a potential game-tying three that wound up being way off the mark.
While Embiid went just 1 of 4 from the field in the fourth, he was able to force the action and go 6 of 7 from the line. If Embiid is out of the MVP race, nobody told him that. The All-Star center continued his dominant play as he poured in 36 points and pulled in 14 rebounds.
George, a possible dark horse MVP candidate in his own right, was also excellent scoring a game-high 37 points and adding nine rebounds and six assists.
Earlier this week, the Sixers embarked on a difficult seven-game stretch. They’ve won the first three of that stretch and four straight games overall. They continue their four-game homestand against the Warriors Monday night.