Snapshots | Bench, Big Man Key in Latest Win Over Detroit
Words: Brian Seltzer
Photos: Kurt Gies, Alex Subers
The big man may have been back, but the 76ers’ (19-9) latest win was as much about the bench as it was anything else.
Returning from a one-game absence (rest), Joel Embiid delivered 24 points (6-16 fg, 1-4 3fg, 11-14 ft) Monday in a 116-102 victory over the Detroit Pistons (13-12) at The Center.
To finish off a pesky, short-handed opponent, however, the Sixers required an extra kick from their reserve corps. Led by Furkan Korkmaz, his career-high 18 points (7-12 fg), and personal-best four 3-pointers, the second-stringers combined for 54 points.
“It was huge,” Brett Brown said of the bench’s efforts.
Also of note was that the Sixers outrebounded Detroit by six, 16-10, on the offensive glass. The disparity yielded a 27-11 scoring disparity on second-chance points.
EMBIID ENDS ON HIGH NOTE
After being held out of Friday’s 117-111 win at Detroit, Joel Embiid missed Sunday’s practice due to a migraine.
Brett Brown then informed the media during Monday’s post-game press conference that the All-Star was feeling a bit under the weather in the hours leading up to tip off.
Embiid proceeded to go out and post 24 points and eight rebounds. Most telling of all, though, was his plus-30 rating in 32 minutes of action.
“You can see what I see, how important he is to us,” said Brett Brown. “I think that Joel, just his presence and some of the plays he made late, his spirit was exceptional tonight.”
Embiid’s contributions were especially vital in Monday’s third quarter. He scored 10 points in the frame, and ensured the Sixers maintained a comfortable lead.
In the fourth period, Embiid assisted on a Furkan Korkmaz triple that widened the gap to 12, 102-90.
“As the game kept going, I got better,” Embiid said. “I started feeling comfortable on the court.”
Andre Drummond, one of Embiid’s chief rivals, manufactured 21 points and 17 boards.
KORKMAZ RINGS THE BELL
RING THAT FURKAN BELL pic.twitter.com/VSPSCMVR3o
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) December 11, 2018
Furkan Korkmaz’s goal has been to stay ready. The mindset paid off, when he took advantage of available minutes Monday to go for a career-high 18 points.
It was his fifth double-figure showing of the season.
“I thought he played the game well, and he played it with a lot of confidence,” said Brett Brown.
Other noteworthy performers from the Sixers’ second unit included Landry Shamet (10 pts, 3 3fg), T.J. McConnell (14 pts, 4 reb, 6 ast, 2 stl), and Mike Muscala (10 pts, 4 reb).
SIMMONS STARTS STRONG
That’s the look of one determined, bad dude.
From the outset of Monday’s tilt, the Sixers’ second in a row against the Pistons, Ben Simmons was dialed in. He zeroed in on the interior, and proceeded to score at will.
Jams, runners, floaters, reverses, the Australian showcased it all.
He felt Detroit wasn’t physically ready for him.
“I’d say most every game we’ve played [against Detroit], every game I’ve been in front of the Pistons,” said Simmons. “I felt there were certain match-ups I could take over, get to the rim, and do my thing.”
Simmons was a perfect 5 for 5 from the field in the first quarter, and ended the evening with 18 points, 10 boards, and seven dimes. The double-double was his 19th of the 2018-19 campaign.
TWO ALL-STARS ABSENT
Jimmy Butler was forced to exit Monday’s game after nine minutes of play with a strained groin. He missed all three of his shot attempts, but collected four rebounds and two assists.
For Detroit, Blake Griffin didn’t play, instead resting on the second night of a back-to-back. The All-Star had combined for 119 points in the first three meetings between the Sixers and Pistons.
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The big man was back, and had moments where he certainly made his presence felt.
The Sixers’ three-game homestand will continue Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets, against whom they’ve gone 1-1 this season. Brooklyn went into the weekend in the midst of an eight-game tailspin, but recovered modestly by sweeping a back-to-back behind a 106-105 overtime home win Friday against the Toronto Raptors, and 112-104 victory Saturday at the New York Knicks.