Philadelphia 76ers The Battle of the Bigs in Sac-Town

Feb 10, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Robert Covington (33) drives past Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The Sacramento Kings won 114-110. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 10, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Robert Covington (33) drives past Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The Sacramento Kings won 114-110. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Philadelphia 76ers center JOEL EMBIID takes on DEMARCUS COUSINS in Sacramento

The Philadelphia 76ers lost on the road Monday night to the Sacramento Kings in a heart-breaker 102-100. Going into tonight’s match up against the Kings, the Sixers have bested the Sacramento 12 of the last 16 contests dating back to 2007.

Controversial big-man DeMarcus Cousins is enjoying a career high in scoring, averaging 29.1 points per game, third best in the NBA. Rookie sensation Joel Embiid is accounting for 18.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per contest.


Right after tip-off, Sacramento jumped out to an early 8-2 run on Philly. The Sixers had problems guarding cutters to the basket and the result was several uncontested layups by the Kings. At the 7:34 minute mark in the 1st quarter, Embiid turned over the ball for traveling. On their way back down the court, Embiid and Cousins while smiling and exchanged multiple playful butt pats.

Both teams exchanged baskets throughout most of the first quarter, no team really gaining an advantage. The Sixers, were able to chip away at the early lead Sacramento built up. By the end of the first quarter, the score was 24-23 in favor of the Kings.

Starting Second Quarter

Starting the 2nd quarter, Sacramento goes on a slight run but Philly soon ties it at 34 by 7:49. Midway through the 2nd quarter, in a pick and roll play between Sergio Rodriguez and Joel Embiid. Embiid was stripped going to the basket and turned the ball over, but Rodriguez quickly stole the ball back and delivered a no-look bounce pass to Embiid for an easy two hand dunk.

Through most of the 2nd we got to see the match-up we wanted in Embiid and Cousins. Embiid seem to slightly get the best of most of their exchanges. With 46 seconds left in the first half, T.J. McConnell ran a nice pick and roll with Jahlil Okafor, giving Okafor a clear lane to the basket, resulting in a powerful one hand dunk. At halftime, both teams were even in most statistical categories, however Sacramento lead 51-47.


The score stayed close through most of the third quarter, neither team apparently able to take control. At 6:38 in the 3rd, the Sixers nearly did a full hockey line change. The substitution brings in Okafor for Embiid and McConnell for Rodriguez. The combo of Joel Embiid with Sergio Rodriguez and Jahlil Okafor with T.J. McConnell is a pairing that coach Bret Brown has been keeping together as of late.

At 6:13 the Sixers take the lead for the first time tonight off a Gerald Henderson jump shot. Off the bench, Dario Saric made his presence known, taking over in the 3rd quarter by scoring and being aggressive on the offensive end, including a couple of 3 point baskets. Saric finished the night with 12 points, 9 rebounds. By the end of the 3rd quarter, Philadelphia pushed their lead up to 7, the score, 77-70 Philadelphia.


In the 4th quarter both teams remained aggressive. Rudy Gay began to assert himself scoring 5 points quickly in the opening minutes, including an open 3-point field goal. With the Okafor & McConnell combination back on the floor, the duo ran multiple pick and

roll plays, however the Kings began to trap Okafor on his roll to the basket and neutralize these plays.

The Kings were able to mount a 13-0 run midway through the 4th quarter and regain the lead. At 6:10, Sacramento led 85-80. Bret Brown quickly put Joel Embiid back into the game. Sacramento’s coach Dave Joerger follows suite by inserting Boogie Cousins.

5:26 left in the 4th, Joel Embiid intercepted a pass by Darren Collison at the top of the key. Embiid converted on the fast break steal, dunking the ball emphatically over two Sacramento defenders.

Dramatic Finish

Both teams continued to exchange baskets but by the 4:19 mark, Sergio Rodriguez converted on a three-point basket and the Sixers took back the lead 89-87.

Remaining close in the final minutes of play, and with 58 Sec left, Sacramento’s Garrett Temple hit a big 3-point basket to give the Kings the lead again, 96-95. Sixers call a timeout, after which Ersan Ilyasova hit a driving bank shot to regain the lead again, 97-96. He would finish with 17 points on the night.

At the 20sec mark, the Kings ran a pick and pop where Boogie Cousins converted on a timely 3-point field goal, the score 99-97 Sacramento. The Kings pushed their lead further with multiple free throws by Temple.

So Close, And Yet So Far

Sergio Rodriguez was able to make another desperately needed three-point basket, bringing Philadelphia to within one. However, Cousins was fouled quickly putting him at the line for two free throws. Cousins converted on one of two, giving the Kings a 102-100 lead.

On the final play of the game, the Sixers inbound the ball full court to Embiid who is being guarded by Cousins. Embiid attempts a 3-point shot, Cousins guarding him is able to block the attempt. Joel Embiid recovers the ball for another 3-point attempt that comes up well short of the basket as time expires. Joel Embiid finished the night with a team high 25 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals. DeMarcus Cousins accounted for 30 points and 7 rebounds as his team beats the Sixers with a final score of 102-100.


After the game, DeMarcus Cousins was interviewed court-side. When asked about his match up with Embiid, Cousins response was “I like that kid a lot, i don’t give a lot of people props, but i like that kid a lot. I think hes got a great chance to be the best big in the league…after i retire”.

After watching two of the best bigs match-up, its clear the future is certainly bright for young Joel Embiid.