Thrill flowed through the Wells Fargo Center as the Sixers looked to extend their home winning streak to ten. Six players scored in the double digits, including Joel Embiid, who ended the game with 28 points and 14 rebounds.
“I feel like the game is becoming easy for me, I’m not pushing, I’m just letting the game come to me,” said Embiid about his performance against Orlando.
Ben Simmons scored 17 points with 7 assists, and JJ Redick added 16 points, shooting 6 for 8 with one 3 pointer. Marco Belinelli, who was signed earlier this month to strengthen the bench, scored 15 points. Robert Covington also scored 12 points and Dario Saric had 11.
76ers Head Coach Brett Brown had nothing but praise for Embiid during the post game press conference.
“There was a fierce competitor and tenacity in Joel Embiid like he really has a disposition to defend, he’s got a skill package to score, but a disposition to defend,” says Brown.
The Sixers trailed the Magic by 9 points in the first quarter with more turnovers than field goals, but Richaun Holmes swooped in to save the day.
Richaun responded to a question about his performance by saying, “I just do what I do. You know run the floor, bring energy, rebound, try to play good defense, try to continue to expand on the lead, and play good basketball.”
Brown decided to play Holmes instead of veteran Amir Johnson so Holmes could stay fresh.
Brown says, “My motivation right now is, I know Richaun has value. I know he has things that he can bring to the table. And I respect how he’s handled himself when he wasn’t playing that much. I know it’s my job to keep him alive. Tonight was an example of that, and I thought he did very, very well.”
With an 87-71 lead going into the fourth quarter, Brown decided to test the bench.
“We have to grow our bench, we have to give those guys confidence that they can close out games, and they did,” says Brown.
Ben Simmons had this to say when asked about the benches performance: “It shows they can hold it down. We have guys who are capable of doing that. It doesn’t have to be the starting five. They teach those players really well. It gives us more time to rest and more confidence in the whole team.”
While Philadelphia might be looking ahead towards another parade down Broad Street, Coach Brown is still taking it one game at a time.
Brown says, “In my mind it’s to take that approach in our remaining games so we can become hardened and I hope well-drilled when it matters most in a playoff situation.”
If this home winning streak continues, the Sixers will have their chance to be in the Playoffs and maybe even the Finals.