76ers

Even Joel Embiid's feet trust the process

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Jessica Camerato/NBCSP

Even Joel Embiid's feet trust the process

MIAMI — How much does Joel Embiid trust the process?

With every step he takes ... literally.

Following shootaround Tuesday in Miami, Embiid changed from his sneakers into these blue slides. His mantra is spelled out in the shape of the Sixers logo.

Tuesday night Embiid and the seventh-seeded Sixers will look to go up 3-0 on the season against the eighth-seeded Heat in yet another matchup that could have playoff implications. 

"It is a big game," Embiid said. 

Pacers 113, Sixers 101: Historic performance from Joel Embiid wasted

Pacers 113, Sixers 101: Historic performance from Joel Embiid wasted

BOX SCORE 

Joel Embiid played like an MVP candidate Friday night, posting 40 points and a career-high 21 rebounds. But his teammates didn’t do him many favors in a 113-101 loss to the Pacers.

The Sixers lost their second straight game without Jimmy Butler, who remains sidelined with a strained groin.

Embiid became the first Sixer with a 30-point, 20-rebound performance since Charles Barkley on Dec. 7, 1990. 

With the loss, the Sixers fall to 19-11, a half game behind the Pacers in the standings. 

• Embiid struck the perfect balance between post and perimeter offense in the first half. When Brett Brown didn’t call a play for him, Embiid had the right sense for when to space the floor and when to occupy the low post. He drew fouls inside, knocked down a three-pointer and ran hard to the rim on a pick-and-roll with T.J. McConnell at the end of the first quarter, tipping in McConnell’s miss with a second left to give the Sixers a 34-24 lead.

When Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis managed to stay in front of Embiid, he used his rip-through move to earn a trip to the line. But those two didn’t have much success hanging with Embiid.

The Pacers did a better job on Embiid after halftime, denying him post position and forcing someone else to beat them.

• Furkan Korkmaz, who scored a career-high 18 points in his last two games, started again and drew a difficult defensive assignment in Bogdan Bogdanovic. The Pacers targeted that matchup, with Bogdanovic overpowering Korkmaz for a couple easy baskets in the first quarter and scoring on him several times during an Indiana run in the third. 

It wasn’t a great night on the offensive end either for Korkmaz; he shot 2 for 10.

• With Embiid out early in the second period, the Pacers went on a 10-0 run to tie the game. Mike Muscala, back in the lineup after missing Wednesday’s loss to the Nets with an upper respiratory infection, had a poor game as Embiid’s backup. Muscala wasn’t decisive offensively, which led to bad spacing for the Sixers on several occasions, wasn’t knocking down open jumpers, and didn’t come close to providing Embiid’s level of rim protection. 

• JJ Redick started hot after shooting just 28.9 percent over his past three games. Redick made his first three shots, scoring seven of the Sixers’ first 12 points.

Following a rough mid-game stretch, Redick also made two three-pointers early in the fourth. He had 22 points on 8 for 19 shooting.  

• The combination of McConnell and Wilson Chandler defended Pacers star Victor Oladipo well, holding him to 14 points on 5 for 16 shooting. 

Oladipo was back in the lineup for his second game after missing over three weeks with right knee soreness, and at times he didn’t appear fully engaged. That said, McConnell and Chandler did a solid job tailing Oladipo around screens and staying in front of him on pick-and-rolls and isolations. 

• Before the game, Brett Brown said “there was a legitimate chance [Butler] could have played tonight.” Brown said the Sixers hope Butler will be ready to return soon, possibly on Sunday against the Cavaliers, but the team is taking a cautious approach. 

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15-year-old Brandon Niederauer performs incredible rendition of national anthem before Sixers game

15-year-old Brandon Niederauer performs incredible rendition of national anthem before Sixers game

That rendition of the Star Spangled Banner absolutely rocked. We can’t believe that Brandon Niederauer, who performed it on his guitar, is only 15 years old, too.

Earlier this week, Philadelphia was introduced to Niederauer, nicknamed Taz, as he tweeted out a rendition of the Sixers' victory song, "Here Come the Sixers," which was seen more than 150,000 times on Twitter.

In town for a show at the Fillmore Saturday, Niederauer will also perform at halftime of Friday’s game against the Indiana Pacers.

According to his website, Niederauer began playing the guitar at the age of 8 after watching the movie "School of Rock" and was featured on "The Ellen Show" by age 10. Among his many accomplishments, Niederauer actually starred in the musical of the very same name, School of Rock, on Broadway and has shared the stage with some of the best musicians in the world.

It’s easy to see that this kid is going to have a tremendous career and we think we’ll be seeing a lot more of Taz.

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