By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor
The Sixers would host fans for the first time at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday night. Despite not having Joel Embiid, the team would go out and give the home crowd something to be excited about.
They would take control of the game early on and never look back. Leading by as much as 42 at one point, the Sixers would beat the Spurs by a final score of 134-99. This loss is their largest loss in franchise history.
Here are some takeaways from the blowout victory.
Balanced attack continues
One thing that has stood out from the Sixers through their first three games coming out of the break is their balanced attack on offense. They have had at least six players in double figures in each of their last three games.
The supporting cast couldn't have picked a better time to get hot as the team is preparing to play without Embiid for the coming weeks. Replacing him is not going to be easy, but the Sixers are filling the void he leaves the right way.
When are a star player is out, occasionally you might see a player try to do too much in an attempt to make up for the lost production. That was not the case in the Sixers' win over the Spurs on Sunday night.
Everyone on the team did a great job of playing within themselves and not trying to replace Embiid on their own. This collectiveness resulted in every player recording a made basket except Terrance Ferguson.
Replacing Embiid's numbers on a nightly basis is not going to be easy, but spreading the extra shots throughout the whole team is crucial if they want to weather the storm.
Rejuvenated second unit
In the final games before the All-Star break, the Sixers' second unit looked to be breaking out their slump. That momentum has carried over into the second half and has been a key factor in the team having a balanced attack with one of their stars.
The bench has now put up 56 points in back-to-back games. This resurgence has been led by Furkan Korkmaz, who has started to get hot from beyond the arc. Matisse Thybulle has also been a boost offensively, shooting the ball efficiently from deep and being effective as a cutter.
Dwight Howard has also given solid production in the absence of Embiid. He continues to work well in the pick-and-roll with Shake Milton and Korkmaz and has even grown as a lob threat recently.
The week off looks like it has done wonders for the second unit. As a group, they look refreshed, and it has reflected in their play. They are starting to look like the deep bench that Doc Rivers spoke highly off early on in the regular season.
Tobias Harris revenge tour
When All-Star teams were announced, many Sixers' fans thought Tobias Harris was a snub for a reserve spot. Harris being the professional that he is hasn't seemed to let it phase him. When asked about it, he jokingly said he told Doc Rivers that has a bounty on the coaches that didn't vote for him.
Harris might be unbothered at not being named an All-Star, but he has continued to step up his play since the teams were named. He would post a near triple-double against the Spurs, finishing with 23 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists.
At times throughout the season, Harris' All-Star level play was overlooked because of the MVP-caliber play of Joel Embiid. But now that Embiid is out, it is a chance for Harris to show just how vital he has been to the Sixers' success.
Whether it's on or off the floor, Harris is looked at as a leader of this team. His performance against the Spurs showed a glimpse of how good Harris is at stepping up and back throughout a game when needed.
He did a great job providing his usual efficient scoring, but he also did a great job as a facilitator and getting good looks for the players around him. Rivers has experimented with him as a 'point forward' with the bench unit at times, and it was something that worked well against the Spurs.
With Embiid out for the coming weeks, it is going to be on Harris and Ben Simmons to lead the charge for the Sixers. After seeing his ability to fill the entire box score and get his teammates involved, Harris is more than ready to weather the storm until the team is back to full health.