Sixers at Hornets: Joel Embiid The Sixers cruise for their seventh straight win

The Sixers claimed their seventh straight victory on Friday night.

The team was blown away by the Hornets to a 121-82 win at Spectrum Center, improving to 47-22 this season. The Sixers’ winning margin of 39 points was their highest of the year.

Charlotte lost its fifth straight game and fell to 22-50.

Before Friday’s Celtics game in Portland, the Sixers were half a game behind Boston in their favour No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Joel Embiid continued his basketball special with a performance of 38 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and four blocks in 29 minutes.

James Harden recorded a triple-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Tobias Harris added 18 points.

Jalen McDaniels missed his second straight game with a right groin contusion. LaMelo Ball, Cody Martin, Mark Williams and Theo Maldon are absent due to injuries to Charlotte.

The Sixers will end their three-game road trip on Saturday with a game against the Pacers. Here are notes on their eighth wins in nine attempts during the month of March:

Harris gets in on the fun

The Sixers’ first play was sweet and familiar: Harden to Embiid for an easy layup.

However, the Spin problems carried over from Wednesday’s win over the Cavs into the early stages. Embiid picked one up in an effort to force the ball onto Harris off the flex. It made sense that the Sixers wanted to target Harris early; Over his past six games, he’s averaged just 8.2 points and shot 28.6% from the floor. Harris made his first two shots, demolishing the third wing and running back Kelly Ober Jr. for a bucket, but his opening charge lasted just over four minutes. Harris was called out for his second foul on Oubre’s jump and Georges Niang was called out.

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Harris got back into the game in the second quarter. The Hornets were able to stay close for a while in part due to a mediocre defensive stretch from the Sixers. Harris was hit on the rebound by PJ Washington for a layup. Rookie guard Bryce McGuinns drove Shake Milton before converting a single to the hoop.

Everything clicked into place once Embiid was re-entered. Melton served a layup on the heels of a football by Embiid, who passed Daryl Dawkins on Friday Sixth in blocks in Sixers history. After Harris stole, Harden made a between-the-legs pass to Embiid for a dunk. Harris often emphasized that he thrives when the team’s offense flows and the Sixers’ pace is blistering. Sure enough, he scored five points late in the second quarter and finished the first half with a 13-going 5-for-7 record. That was more than he had posted in any of the previous six games.

Harris shared a laugh with PJ Tucker early in the third quarter after attempting a dunk on Nick Richards. Although Harris couldn’t quite do it, he made a mistake. Less than 30 seconds later, he successfully threw one into a Sixers fast break.

Ruthless, highly effective Embiid

Facing a team that scored 53 points against him in December, Embiid didn’t quite beat the Hornets right away. The third-year center Richards recovered well to deny him entry after initially biting him on a fake pump.

Embiid definitely found his game. During a 12-0 Sixers run in the first quarter, he made one less graceful before hitting a closed-eyes, one-pointer that tipped over his shoulder.

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By the middle of the second quarter, the 29-year-old appeared to be at the peak of form, and the Harden-Embiid Pick-and-Roll went viral. Harden made six assists in the second quarter and passed to Bob Cousy for the 20th in the game List of all-time NBA assists. The 33-year-old had a shooting night (4-for-15 from the floor, 0-for-6 from three-point range), but still hit his career-high 74 triples.

Meanwhile, Embiid kicked all six of his field goals in the second quarter. He remained ruthless after the break, continuing to play aggressively defensively en route to his third straight four-block performance while looking offensively unstoppable. After starting 1-for-4 from the ground, Embiid sank 15 of his next 17 field goals. Despite not playing any fourth-quarter minutes in three of the past five games with the Sixers winning it safe, Embiid has scored more than 30 points in each of his last eight games.

saving their legs

Senior backup man Kay Jones was a bright spot for the Hornets. He made two jump hooks against Embiid in the third quarter and it looked like the Sixers might need to wait longer than needed for a kickoff.

Any slight anxiety on that front quickly evaporated. Embiid took a jump off the top of the corkscrew, missed by Jones, and watched gleefully as the ball bounced high off the back edge before dropping through the hoop. He battled with 1:36 left in third.

Paul Reed (eight points, 10 rebounds, three blocks) and Dewayne Deadmon split a quarter of overtime. Charlotte’s Danuel House Jr., Furkan Korkmaz and Jaden Springer also stretched in the fourth round. Montrezl Harrell was the only active player not to play.

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Obviously, the stress-free finish was perfect for the Sixers on the first night from back-to-back. Their recent visit to Indiana was a fast-paced, offense-focused game, so keeping a little extra energy certainly wouldn’t hurt Saturday night.

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