GRADES: Sixers halt Pistons, win 8th straight

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Sixers, without Ben Simmons and Seth Curry, used a big first quarter to hold off the struggling Detroit Pistons.

A 7-0 run to start the game got the tempo going for Philadelphia. In a game they never trailed, Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris led the way. The duo combined for the first 17 points of the teams 21 en route to a 34-17 quarter for Philadelphia.

Despite a single field goal during a 4:30 stretch, Philadelphia held a 45-35 lead in the second quarter when their stars returned. Embiid added 10 more in quarter as Philadelphia took the game to half leading 56-43.

An Embiid bucket followed by eight straight from Danny Green pushed Philadelphia’s lead to 20 points as the game was all but over. Tyrese Maxey helped keep the offense in fruition and Dwight Howard provided his typical strong game off the bench.

Despite a strong quarter from rookie Saddiq Bey, Philadelphia stretched their halftime lead by three and entered the fourth quarter up 16, 89-73.

Philadelphia maintained their lead throughout the quarter and played Embiid till roughly the four minute mark with Simmons and Curry being out. Nonetheless, the quarter proved uneventful with the lead never falling below 13 points as Philadelphia closed the game 118-104.

The Sixers beat an uninspiring Pistons team for their eighth straight win.

JOEL EMBIID. A. . C. 76ers

23 mins | 29 pts | 6 reb | 1 ast | 1 stl | 0 blk | 1 TO | 11-13 FG | 1-1 3PT| 6-6 FT | 1 PF | +19 |

An utterly dominant performance from Joel Embiid. He only contributed six rebounds but chipped in 29 points on only 13 field goal attempts as he imposed his will on Detroit. Embiid propelled Philadelphia as he so often does.

A+. . C. 76ers. DWIGHT HOWARD

22 mins | 19 pts | 14 reb | 1 ast | 0 stl | 0 blk | 2 TO | 6-9 FG | 1-2 3PT| 6-8 FT | 2 PF | +3 |

19 points, 14 rebounds, only 22 minutes. Howard has proven time and again that his game has evolved from failed post-ups to one of, if not the best, rim runner and vertical spacer in the game. Howard made history as he moved into 10th all-time on the double-doubles list.

TYRESE MAXEY. A. . PG. 76ers

35 mins | 22 pts | 5 reb | 4 ast | 2 stl | 1 blk | 1 TO | 7-11 FG | 2-3 3PT| 6-7 FT | 2 PF | +25 |

A gorgeous performance for Tyrese Maxey. Given the starting spot over Shake Milton, as Curry and Simmons rested, Maxey played the way that had many Philadelphia fans giddy at the start of the season. A full box score with 22 points on 11 shots as he controlled the pace, just a splendid game that makes one wonder if he won’t get a chance to swing a playoff game sooner than later.

GEORGE HILL. C-. . PG. 76ers

24 mins | 5 pts | 2 reb | 2 ast | 1 stl | 0 blk | 3 TO | 2-7 FG | 1-3 3PT| 0-0 FT | 2 PF | -3 |

George Hill becomes a focus in part because of Maxey’s play. Hill has been steady, unspectacular in his play for Philadelphia. That isn’t a knock. It’s essentially what he was brought in to do and his leadership/experience should prove key in the playoffs. All of that said, Maxey has more potential to flip a series by exploding off the bench. It’s at least worth monitoring.


19 mins | 2 pts | 3 reb | 0 ast | 5 stl | 0 blk | 0 TO | 1-3 FG | 0-2 3PT| 0-0 FT | 3 PF | +10 |

Thybulle scored two points… a pedestrian 1-3 from the field and 0% from three-point range. It didn’t matter. He recorded five steals and proves to be must watch television with his sprawling defense. It is a sight to behold and should be enjoyed all along the way.

Detroit is in the midst of a rebuild and have four games remaining as they will host their biggest rival, the Chicago Bulls. Fans of Detroit might be rooting for improved lottery odds, but Chicago is always a game they’ll step up for.

As for Philadelphia, they will be traveling to the struggling Indiana Pacers looking to potentially lock-in the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.

Next. 3 players with something to prove in playoffs. dark