The NBA season is only a week old, but the Philadelphia 76ers already stand alone at the top of the Eastern Conference.
While the team hasn’t yet played up to their maximum potential, each victory has shown they can win in a variety of ways.
Since earning the top seed and keeping Joel Embiid’s minutes low are two important goals for the Sixers, earning wins while having different players step up is vital.
Game 1 MVP: Ben Simmons
On opening night against the Boston Celtics, almost the entire team struggled to make outside shots.
They finished the game shooting 7 of 29 from the three-point line only good enough for 24.1 percent.
He was in attack mode all game, finishing with 24 points on 16 shots. Along with leading the team in scoring by eight points, Simmons more than doubled any other Sixers with nine assists.
“I’m skilled, I’m gifted, I’m pretty good at what I do,” Simmons said after the Celtics game.
His aggressiveness was the biggest reason for the opening night victory.
Game 2 MVP’s: Tobias Harris, Mike Scott and Al Horford
With Embiid out due to a sprained right ankle against the Pistons, someone needed to step up and attempt to replace his production.
For this game, it took a small village of Sixers.
Harris scored 16 of his 29 points in the third quarter. Every made shot was needed since they trailed by 13 with 8:47 remaining in the quarter.
Horford took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 11 points including two three pointers to close out the game.
Game 3 MVP: Joel Embiid
It was only a matter of time before Embiid had a breakout game. Unfortunately for the Hawks they were on the receiving end.
Yet again the Sixers struggled from deep, going 11 of 41 (26.8 percent) for the game. They needed Embiid to dominate in the paint to compensate for the poor outside shooting.
While everyone else struggled offensively, Embiid thrived on the Hawks weak interior defense.
Head coach Brett Brown spoke highly of his performance after the game.
He was our crown jewel in a blatant way,” Brown said. “We needed him, particularly offensively.”
He finished with 36 points, 13 rebounds and five assists.
Embiid also appeared to be playing with an edge as evidenced by two shimmies in the second half.
One was right in front of John Collins after putting him on a poster and the second came after making a three-pointer to tie the game at 85 in the fourth quarter.
Joel Embiid 🔥🔥huge dunk
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) October 29, 2019
When Embiid’s trolling the opponent, he’s usually playing at his best.
He certainly was Monday night.
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