Instant Observations: Embiid Sets New Franchise Record with 70 Points in 76ers’ Win Over Spurs

Instant Observations: Embiid Sets New Franchise Record with 70 Points in 76ers’ Win Over Spurs Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid set a new Philadelphia 76ers‘ franchise record by scoring 70 points in the team’s 133-123 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Embiid is the ninth player in NBA history to score 70-plus points in a single game. In addition to the 70 points, Embiid grabbed 18 rebounds and dished out five assists.

Tyrese Maxey added in 18 points, four rebounds and eight assists. Nic Batum filled up the stat sheet with five points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals.

The Sixers were missing a slew of rotation players. De’Anthony Melton (lumbar spine stress response), Pat Beverley (illness), Marcus Morris Sr. (left foot plantar fasciitis), Robert Covington (left knee inflammation), Mo Bamba (right knee inflammation) and Jaden Springer (right ankle tendinitis) were all out of action against San Antonio.

Victor Wembanyama finished with 33 points, seven rebounds and two assists for San Antonio. Devin Vassell added 22 points, four rebounds and nine assists. The Spurs were without Charles Bassey (left ACL tear) and Sidy Cissoko (left ankle sprain).

The Sixers’ win over San Antonio extended their winning streak to six games. Their next matchup is against the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night. Here are some instant observations from the win over the Spurs:

Embiid’s record-setting night

All eyes were on the Embiid vs. Wembanyama matchup, and it did not disappoint. Wembanyama scored 10 points in the first 5:33 of the game before picking up his second foul and being forced to the bench. For as impressive as Wembanyama’s start was, it paled in comparison to what Embiid did against San Antonio’s defense. Embiid relished the matchup against the 7-foot-4 phenom, draining multiple mid-range jumpers over Wembanyama’s outstretched arms. Wembanyama’s length made it more difficult than usual for Embiid in the mid-range area, but Embiid still got the majority of his shots to fall.

When Embiid was not operating at the elbows, he used his strength to overpower whoever was defending him, whether it was Wembanyama or Zach Collins. Embiid flipped a switch and played bully ball against Wembanyama, backing him down in the post before finishing the possession with a dunk. Embiid’s combination of physicality and mid-range prowess was tough for Wembanyama to effectively defend against.

The Spurs had no answer for Embiid’s physicality, either as a scorer or on the glass. Embiid controlled the offensive glass, grabbing nine offensive boards. There were moments in the game where he grabbed one or even two offensive rebounds on the same possession before finally putting it in the basket. While Embiid’s scoring repertoire typically takes center stage, he is also capable of dominating games on the glass whenever necessary.

Embiid is in the midst of a potentially history-making season. Performances like the one against the Spurs, in which he scored 24 points in the first quarter, have become routine to see from the big fella. After totaling 34 points and 10 rebounds by halftime, the Sixers made the smart decision to keep feeding him the ball throughout the second half. Embiid followed up his tremendous 24-point first quarter by scoring 25 points in the third quarter. The Spurs were able to keep the game from getting out of hand in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. As a result, Embiid, with 59 points already on the board, checked back into the game with 6:38 remaining. The Sixers proceeded to feed him the ball on nearly ever possession. His historic night culminated with a layup to score 70 points, a new franchise record.

Maxey excels in secondary role against Spurs

The Sixers did not need much production from anyone outside of Embiid when considering he scored 70 points against the Spurs. Maxey was content to play a secondary role in this game, feeding Embiid and efficiently running the offense. He also filled in as a scorer whenever necessary, whether through his strong arsenal of floaters or a couple of 3-pointers. The 23-year-old guard has had his fair share of dominating performances this season, but on this night he was effective in playing a secondary role while helping facilitate Embiid’s huge night.

Batum plays his role to perfection

Gone are the days of the Sixers lacking effective depth in the rotation. Batum continues to step into his role on the Sixers and fill it with perfection. His versatile skillset showed up against the Spurs, whether through hard work on the offensive glass, playing effective defense or efficiently spreading the ball around the floor. Batum created countless extra possessions against the Spurs, recording four offensive rebounds. He is not without his faults, but overall the Sixers are a much better team with him on the floor than without.

Sixers forced to dig deeper into rotation

Head coach Nick Nurse had to get creative in how he doled out rotation minutes against the Spurs. Multiple of their typical rotation players were out against San Antonio. As a result, Danuel House Jr. played significant minutes. He finished with eight points, two rebounds and an assist in 23 minutes off the bench. His night was solid overall outside of not feeding Embiid, who was nearing 60 points at this point, the ball late in the third quarter.

K.J. Martin, acquired in the James Harden trade, has not consistently made it into the Sixers’ rotation. However, he played 17 minutes against the Spurs and made a few promising plays. Maxey found him twice throughout the game on alley-oops, allowing Martin to showcase his athleticism. While Martin might not have a role for the Sixers this season, he is still a young player with some potential.

Furkan Korkmaz also received some playing time. He failed to score a point in 13 minutes off the bench.

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