The Philadelphia 76ers might be the most fun basketball team in the NBA right now. That’s not to say they’re the best, but when Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are on the court they are an absolute must watch.
After Joel Embiid torched the Lakers to the tune of 46 points on Wednesday night, the Sixers returned home for a Saturday night showdown with the Warriors. Golden State came into Philly fresh off Thursday night loss in Boston, and for those expecting a bounce back performance from the reigning champs, they were in for a rude surprise in the first quarter in Philadelphia.
The Sixers burst out of the gate with a 47-point quarter to jump on top of the Warriors 47-28 after 12 minutes of play. It was the usual suspects leading the way for Philly, with Simmons, Embiid, Robert Covington, and J.J. Redick all getting hot early for the Sixers. Not only did the Sixers become the first team to put up 40 points on the Warriors in a quarter this season, but their 47 points was the most scored on the Warriors in any quarter since 1992.
A Simmons feed to Embiid for a dunk driving into the lane was the way the game started for the Sixers, letting the whole arena know they were about to be in for a treat.
Everything was going Philly’s way early, including the between quarter break when a fan hit a halfcourt shot to win the arena free Chick-fil-A.
Philly kept the pedal down in the second quarter to open up a 74-52 lead at the half, and it was on the back of some absurd plays by their rookie point guard. Simmons twice hit Warriors defenders with filthy moves to free up a driving lane to the basket for a finish.
By the end of the half, Simmons had put up a near double-double with 16 points and nine assists, with Embiid adding 17 first half points to lead the team in scoring. Covington and Redick each added 12 points of their own.
The Sixers might not be there yet, but the flashes of brilliance from their two young stars suggest that they are going to be a serious contender in the near future.
Update: The Warriors happened in the third quarter, outscoring the Sixers 47-15 over the first 12 minutes of the second half to take a 99-89 lead.