Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, and the Sixers dominate the Pacers, push streak to eight games

Gina Mizell, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Basketball

INDIANAPOLIS — Joel Embiid briefly looked like he would return to the floor, when he received a replacement 76ers jersey from an equipment staffer during a timeout with less than six minutes remaining against the Indiana Pacers.

The wardrobe change was unnecessary. Backup center Paul Reed finished inside, Tobias Harris hit a tough turnaround jumper at the end of the shot clock, and Reed threw down a dunk off a feed from Shake Milton to propel their team to a 22-point cushion.

That finished off the latest Sixers onslaught, this by a 141-121 score without starters James Harden and P.J. Tucker Saturday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, to clinch their eighth consecutive victory.

The winning streak matches the longest of the season for the surging Sixers (48-22), who have brilliantly navigated what appeared to be a daunting March filled with road games and back-to-backs. And it helps them keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff standings, at least temporarily moving within a half-game of the second-place Boston Celtics, who played the Utah Jazz late Saturday.

Though Saturday was not an exact repeat of the defense-optional barnburner these teams played on March 6 — at least partially because offensive orchestrators Harden and Tyrese Haliburton, who rank 1-2 in the NBA in assists, missed the game — the Sixers still shot 61.4% from the floor including a 15-of-25 mark from 3-point distance.

After leading, 82-61, at the half, the Sixers extended that advantage to 99-82 on a Tobias Harris 3-pointer at the 4:07 mark of the third quarter. They led by as many as 24 in the final period.


Embiid put together another methodically dominant performance, with 31 points on 10-of-15 shooting, seven rebounds, and seven assists in 30 minutes. Tyrese Maxey scored 22 of his 31 points in the first half on a blistering 9-of-11 shooting from the floor, and also finished with seven assists. Harris added 24 points, five rebounds and four assists, while De’Anthony Melton stuffed the box score with 14 points, five rebounds, five assists and six steals in his return to the starting lineup.

The Sixers briefly return home to face the Chicago Bulls on Monday, before hitting the road again to take on the Bulls (Wednesday), Golden State Warriors (Friday), Phoenix Suns (March 25), and Denver Nuggets (March 27).

Mad Maxey

Perhaps Maxey should consider investing in some property in Indianapolis. Because he treats Gainbridge Fieldhouse like a second home gym.


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