If only the Sixers could find a way to not play any road games.
They took the frustrations of an ugly four-game road trip out on the young Grizzlies with a 119-107 win at the Wells Fargo Center Friday night.
The only negative on the night is that Joel Embiid was forced to leave the game with neck stiffness.
The win improves them to 32-21 and their NBA-best home record is now 23-2. They’ll host the Bulls on Sunday (6 p.m.)
Here are observations from the win:
After a down game in Milwaukee where he only took six shots from the floor, Ben Simmons was back to his recent form. He continues to attack the rim as Brett Brown continues to use him in creative ways. We saw a ton of Simmons playing at the elbow in sort of a point forward role and being used in dribble handoffs and pick-and-rolls.
Simmons just had to collect the high fives from the fans sitting courtside after this 😂 pic.twitter.com/hL4GPvZiS6— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) February 8, 2020
He finished with 22 points (9 of 14), 10 assists, four rebounds and three steals. He also continues to hit his free throws, going 4 of 5.
Despite Simmons’ defensive prowess, Brown has generally elected to keep his point guard off the other team’s top offensive player because of his workload. After losing four straight, perhaps Brown didn’t see a point in messing around and had Simmons on Rookie of the Year favorite Ja Morant from the jump. All Simmons did was hold Morant to 1 of 6 from the field with three turnovers in the first half.
In a game the Sixers needed to get the bad taste out of their mouth, Simmons delivered in a big way.
Embiid had one of the worst offensive performances of his career against the Bucks, going 6 of 26 from the floor. It seemed like the difficulty of playing with a splint on his left hand affected the rest of his game.
On the first possession of the game, he tipped a Morant pass to Simmons who finished on the other end. It seemed like a preamble to the way he played the rest of the half. He was extremely active, recording 10 points, 10 rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block in just 16 minutes. He also took two charges.
Embiid was not out to start the second half and missed the remainder of the game with neck stiffness. We’ll have more details as they become available.
Credit Tobias Harris for stepping up in Embiid’s absence. He scored 11 of his 21 points in the third quarter. Harris was shooting just 40.1 over his last 10 games coming in. He was 9 of 17 Friday, including 3 of 4 from three.
Quite the Furkan game
There’s just something about these Wells Fargo Center rims for Furkan Korkmaz. Korkmaz’s shooting splits are a microcosm of the team. At home, the Turkish wing was hitting 43.2 from deep at home coming in. That number drops to 33.1 on the road.
The 22-year-old was cooking from the start in this one, pouring in 20 first-half points. He was 4 of 5 from three and 8 of 9 overall. The Sixers were kind of playing rope-a-dope with the Grizzlies in the first half. Korkmaz hit some big shots to get them separation and build a 14-point halftime lead.
Korkmaz is never one to lack confidence, but the audacity of this one ...
KORKMAZ FROM NORTH PHILLY. pic.twitter.com/DoT2PwYUex— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) February 8, 2020
He set new career highs with 34 points and seven made threes. He led another strong shooting night from deep for the Sixers as a team (14 of 25).
Now that’s defense
The biggest disappointment during the Sixers’ brutal four-game road trip was their defense. They’ve consistently been in the top-five in the NBA in terms of defensive rating and that’s supposed to be the identity of the team.
Back at home, they got back to that, smothering the young Grizzlies throughout. It’s a tough matchup for Memphis. The Grizzlies two talented young players in Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. had to deal with Simmons and Al Horford. The Memphis duo combined for just 21 points.
Memphis shot just 40.9 percent from the field and never looked comfortable on the offensive end.
Say what you want about Horford this year, but he's done well with some tough defensive assignment. Horford elicited boos after a couple early misses. He then motioned to his mouth to shush those who booed after hitting a pair of shots. Slightly out of character for the even-keeled vet, but showing a little fire every now and then isn’t a bad thing.
Oh yeah, Horford?— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) February 8, 2020
Josh Richardson returned from a six-game absence because of a left hamstring strain. He wasn’t in the starting lineup — Shake Milton got his seventh straight start — and played just 15 minutes.
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