Joel Embiid leads short-handed Sixers past Pacers

The Philadelphia 76ers were looking to keep their winning ways going on Saturday when they paid a visit to the Indiana Pacers. Philadelphia entered the contest winners of seven straight games and was looking to sweep not only this three-game road trip, but also the season series with the Pacers.

They also entered the night short-handed as James Harden and PJ Tucker were held out due to injuries. Considering it was the second night of a back-to-back for the Sixers, it made sense.

Luckily for the Sixers, they were able to have their star big man as well as their rising star guard. Joel Embiid had 31 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists to lead Philadelphia to another easy 141-121 win over the Pacers while Tyrese Maxey added 31 points and seven assists.

Tobias Harris chipped in with 24 points and five rebounds with four assists, De’Anthony Melton added 14 points, five rebounds, five assists, and six steals, and Georges Niang added 10 off the bench. Paul Reed also had 10, Shake Milton had nine and five assists, and Jalen McDaniels had seven.

Here are the player grades following the win:

Tyrese Maxey: A+

Considering Harden was out for this one, they needed Maxey to step up and be the second guy next to Embiid. He was aggressive from the get-go as he was able to get into the paint with his aggressiveness and he was knocking down deep triples. His offensive ability of him in this one was impressive. Indiana sent a lot of pressure toward him, but instead of wilting, he went straight to the basket and he was aggressive. He also took advantage of some lazy defense by knocking down shots when they backed off. He was terrific all-around in this one to give the Sixers a big boost.

De’Anthony Melton: A+

This was a very good Melton game. He was a pest on the perimeter defensively and he was aggressive with his offense in the early going. His ability to force turnovers on the defensive end and also take advantage of his open opportunities on offense gave the Sixers a big spark off the bench in this one. Philadelphia needed it. Overall, he was phenomenal and Philadelphia needed this effort with them being so short-handed.

Danuel House Jr.: B

Drawing the start with Philadelphia missing Tucker, the Sixers received some nice production out of House Jr. He played well defensively and he knocked down a triple on the offensive end. He has been playing very well since he re-entered the rotation in early March and is making his case to earn some playoff minutes.

Tobias Harris A

For the second consecutive night, Harris was very good on the offensive end. The Sixers were looking for him in his spots and he was then able to produce in those spots. He was able to use his size and strength to score over the smaller Pacers and he was helpful on the glass as well. When Harris is engaged and involved as he was in this one, then he’s a much different and helpful player.

Joel Embiid: A+

Myles Turner is obviously a step up in competition from anybody the Hornets could throw at Embiid, but after a rough start, he responded quickly. There were quite a few times the Pacers tried driving into the paint and the big fella deterred them. The mere presence of Embiid on the defensive end is so intimidating for opposing ball handlers and guys getting into the paint. Then, there was his offensive work by him which is always on point. It really is impressive the way he is able to finish through traffic and he is able to knock down jumpers with a feathery touch for a guy his size. He dominated the third quarter to help the Sixers maintain their double-digit lead. In the process, he set the franchise record for consecutive games with 30+ points with nine.

Georges NiangA-

There were a few defensive moments when Niang struggled out on the floor, but he had another very nice offensive night. He knocked down a wing triple and then he scored in the paint. When Niang is able to knock down 3s and contribute on offense as he did in this one, that is when he is at his best and that earns him minutes. He has to stay in his offensive rhythm in order to be helpful for the Sixers.

Jalen McDaniels: B-

In his return to the lineup after missing two games due to a hip contusion, McDaniels looked a bit slow on the defensive end, but that makes sense considering the hip issue limiting his mobility in some capacity. He had a tough finish while being fouled as well as getting a friendly roll on a mid-range jumper in the second half to contribute on offense.

Shake Milton: A-

Despite having some defensive issues, Milton was able to contribute thanks to his work on the offensive end. He had a nice move in the paint and converted while being fouled and then he finished a tough layup. He also did a good job with his passing of him so it was a good night for him.

Paul Reed: B-

The initial run for Reed was a tough one. He picked up two fouls in four minutes and that forced coach Doc Rivers to sub him out in this matchup. The Pacers have some big guys who are experienced and that spelled trouble for the young man out of DePaul. He was obviously better in the second half.

Dewayne Dedmon: Incomplete

Earning some minutes after Reed got off to a slow start, Dedmon provided some offense on one end with a savvy move in the paint. The defensive end was a bit of a struggle, though, as he was just not able to make the impact the Sixers needed despite his size. The Pacers continued to go after the basket with aggressiveness when he was on the floor. He only played three minutes in this one.

Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire

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