76ers

Joel Embiid plays quarterback to help Sixers nail down 1st home win

BOX SCORE

Remember all that talk about Joel Embiid not getting the ball at the basket? That’s in the past, even if it was just a few games ago. 

Embiid shirked the three-point line late in Wednesday's game to dominate at the hoop with 11 points and three rebounds in the final seven minutes (see highlights)

“Guys were finding me,” Embiid said after the Sixers’ 119-109 win over the Hawks (see observations). “The ball was moving. A lot of guys made wide-open shots that made me open too. … I was just being a basketball player.” 

The Sixers looked to get him involved. Ben Simmons said “a lot of post play” for Embiid was one of the keys to the win. Embiid scored off assists from T.J. McConnell, Jerryd Bayless and two from Simmons during that stretch (see highlights)

Embiid dished a career-high six dimes. He’s averaged 5.0 assists over his last three games. Brett Brown was most pleased with his two turnovers, as Embiid, who logged a career-high 30:15 of playing time, was more effective at fighting through double-teams.

“I have to be a quarterback and just move the ball around,” Embiid said. “That’s what I felt like I did.”

Embiid became the fifth player this season to post at least 20 points, 10 boards, five assists and three steals in a game. Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, Giannis Antetokounmpo and DeMarcus Cousins have reached those marks (Cousins twice). 

Center of attention
JJ Redick didn’t make his first three until 2:54 to play and yet Brown didn’t take him off the court. 

“[I played him] because of the attention that he creates,” Brown said. “You're reminded no matter if he is making shots or he isn't, the attention that he receives is prominent. You see it and so it creates space. It turns it into almost a 4-on-4 game.”

The usually savvy shooter said he felt “a little out of rhythm” after missing the last two games because of lower-back tightness. He shot 3 for 11 from the field (1 for 6 from three). Redick played 32 minutes in spite of his off night. 

“Stan Van Gundy said this to me when I was a second-year player (with the Orlando Magic) averaging four points a game — I am guarded a lot of times like a primary scorer,” Redick said. “That’s one of the reasons I can provide value without necessarily scoring 25 a night.”

A 'W' for the home crowd
The Sixers won their first home game of the season, and the first one in Philadelphia in a long time, period. Their last victory at the Wells Fargo Center was March 28 over the Nets. 

“It’s very, very inspiring that we gave the fans something to look forward to,” Robert Covington said. “All our other wins were on the road, but we wanted to do it in front of our city.”

A sellout crowd of 20,549 watched the win. Among those were 35 children from a local Boys & Girls Club, who were there as guests of rapper and Philadelphia native Meek Mill. Embiid and Justin Anderson met with the group after the game.