Sixers center Joel Embiid gave Kelly Olynyk and the Pistons passed during a 110-102 loss at the Wells Fargo Center.
Doc Rivers threw his starters back in the fourth quarter with 5:08 minutes as his team tried to displace the 22-point lead. And then Joel Embiid put the Philadelphia 76ers on his gimpy knee and wanted them.
The Sixers (3-2) didn’t play the nicest basketball, but a win is a win is a win. Embiid scored 30 points and took 18 points in 31 minutes to set the tone for a 110-102 win. It was the first team at the Wells Fargo Center this season.
After the game, Embiid talked about perfecting his new role as “Point Center”. He put it all on display as he passed Tyrese Maxey a nifty trick pass behind the back. Which the second grader promptly emptied for three. That’s a good thing.
“I’ve never seen that before,” Maxey said. “I’m so glad I made it. Because if not, oof … oof. “
1.” Shake and Bake “Ready: Tyrese Maxey started as point guard and played his best game of the year: 13 points, six assists, six rebounds. The only thing Maxey wanted to focus on was his four costly sales. Unacceptable. And he’s still learning how to stick it on the defensive end. Shake Milton (13 points, five assists) ran precisely for the second unit in his first game after an ankle injury. He shook off the early rust and settled in, highlighted by a dominant 10-minute stretch in the second half, in which the second session built a 22-point lead.
2. Embiid, MVP Point Center: After a defeat that made the 7-footer looked tired and injured, Embiid delivered a real MVP performance in this case. He scored 30 points and grabbed 18 boards in 31 minutes, including a woofing match with Luka Garza. He throttled every defense attorney Detroit threw at him. Kelly Olynyk, Josh Jackson, Isaiah Stewart, the referees. Embiid told reporters “I’m fine” about his gimpy knee, but he winced in pain at times. The MVP runner-up also emphasized that he had actively tried to be a “points center” and call the offensive games.
Whatever Luke Garza said to Joel Embiid, say it again … Joel has that kind of intensity not seen this season yet
3. Where is Danny Green? The three-and-d winger didn’t look like himself in five games. He was kept goalless against Detroit while shooting 0-for-5 from the deep. In the first five competitions he averages 5.8 points per game. Even more worrying, green is 9-for-25 from the three-point country. And he was blessed with boos from the Philly believers after two shots barely hit iron. The calls for Furkan Korkmaz in the starting XI could come.
4th starter pushed back: The second unit – Shake Milton, Furkan Korkmaz, Andre Drummond, Matisse Thybulle, Georges Niang – was from late in the third until 6:08 am in the fourth in cruise control. At this point, Drummond conceded his sixth foul and Tobias Harris came on. The small line-up watched a large lead dwindle from 22 to 14 to seven. Doc Rivers was forced to kick his starters out again, even though his intention was to ride it out with the second unit. Drummond controlled the color, but he has to play smarter.
The # Sixers unit of Georges Niang, Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle, Andre Drummond, Furkan Korkmaz had a 10-point lead on a 22-point lead repressed. Very impressive. But Drummond just fouled. And Doc Rivers has the starting eleven again with 5:08 to go: 100-86. #Here you come
5. “F *** Ben Simmons” singing: Yes, there was an offensive chant directed at absent point guard Ben Simmons, who played 4:08 in the first half would have. It wasn’t overwhelmingly loud, but it was definitely audible. It appeared to be from a couple of yahoos on the upper level. To be fair, Wells Fargo Center fans were way louder as they greeted Jumaine Jones (bell) and Freddie Mitchell as they dished out MVP chants for Embiid every time he stepped on the free throw line.