The winner of the big man battle was Joel Embiid in the Sixers’ 100-82 victory over Anthony Davis and the Pelicans on Friday night.
Embiid scored 24 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, including 20 points and 10 boards in the first half alone. Davis, on the other hand, posted 14 points and eight rebounds, nearly half his season average in scoring.
The Sixers improved to 27-25 while the Pelicans dropped to 28-27 as they adapt to their season without DeMarcus Cousins.
• The Sixers’ bench was called on early in the fourth, giving the starters a key opportunity to rest ahead of Saturday’s back-to-back against the Clippers. (Embiid, Ben Simmons and Robert Covington did not play in the final quarter.) They outscored the Pelicans, 28-11, in the third to build a big enough cushion to be unscathed after the Pelicans outscored them 30-16 in the fourth.
• Dario Saric’s performance should not be overshadowed by Embiid’s double-double. He tied Embiid for a team-high 24 points, including an efficient 4 for 5 from three.
• Simmons likely would have recorded a triple-double had he not sat out the entire fourth. He recorded 10 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in just 25 minutes.
• Embiid joins Cousins and Nikola Jokic as the only three players to record 20 and 10 in a first half this season. Of all of his big plays in this game, this one stood out the most:
Teamwork makes the dreamwork.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) February 10, 2018
Joel and Cov on this alley-oop move as the Sixers hold a 23-4 lead over Pelicans. pic.twitter.com/7guHB5zC3U
• Infrequently-called upon Richaun Holmes (six minutes) played in the fourth. He grabbed four rebounds and did not score.
• The Pelicans’ starters struggled to score. Well, most of the team did, shooting 34.7 percent from the field. Ian Clark led the team with 15 points off the bench.
• Former Sixer (in training camp) Emeka Okafor played 20 minutes for the Pelicans (four points, eight rebounds, four blocks). The veteran had been playing for the Sixers’ G-League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, prior to signing a 10-day contract with the Pelicans earlier this month.
• The Wells Fargo Center had Eagles fever once again as wide receivers Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery were in attendance. Jeffery, dressed in an Eagles green suit, took photos with fans throughout the night, prompting an “Alshon Jeffery” chant. He stood and waved to the crowd.