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Joel Embiid was a monster Thursday night and the Sixers needed everything he gave them.
The Sixers let a 15-point halftime lead evaporate but ultimately held on for a 122-113 win over the Clippers at the Wells Fargo Center. They improved to 5-0 at home and are now back above .500 at 5-4 overall.
After playing arguably the best half of their young season, the Sixers played one of their worst quarters, getting outscored 29-18 in the third.
Here are observations from the win:
• Embiid played straight bully ball with the Clippers' big men in the first half. Whether it was Marcin Gortat or Montrezl Harrell, Embiid had his way with 24 first-half points. It looked like a 50-point performance was well within reach.
LA coach Glenn Rivers started the second half with the enormous Boban Marjanovic and the move worked at first as the Sixers struggled to find an answer for Marjanovic's size on either end of the floor.
Embiid still had a big night, finishing with a season-high 41 points, 13 rebounds, tying a season high with four blocks and was showered with "M-V-P" chants in the fourth. He also got the last laugh on Marjanovich.
• It was a bounce-back performance for Ben Simmons, who turned the ball over just two times. The second-year point guard has had his share of ups and down so far this season. Not facing arguably the best defensive wing certainly helped on Thursday, as he recorded 14 points, 11 assists and three rebounds.
It was also good to see Simmons simply shoot the basketball. He came out firing, shooting two mid-range jumpers within the first few minutes of the game. He swished the first and the second one was in and out. He also got a couple easy baskets operating in the post. He was aggressive but under control.
• Yet again Markelle Fultz's run in the second half was better than his start. With the Sixers losing their lead in the third, Fultz came off the bench and gave them a little juice. The rest of the team struggled with Marjanovic at the rim, but Fultz went right him, including on a really nice drive as time expired in the third.
Make way, Fultz coming through!
Kelle ends the third with a big drive to put the Sixer up four going into the fourth. pic.twitter.com/tIKdHtxXkK — NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) November 2, 2018
Fultz finished with 12 points (5 of 10), nine rebounds and five assists in 21 minutes.
The defensive end continues to be a struggle for Fultz. Former Sixer Lou Williams - who got a nice reception from the crowd - roasted him on more than one occasion.
• Landry Shamet has been a very pleasant surprise for the Sixers this season. With Wilson Chandler still nursing a hamstring strain, the rookie guard has stayed in Brett Brown's rotation by making shots. He was excellent for the Sixers tonight, hitting 3 of 6 threes and scoring 13 points.
He's a smart player, too. He worked an excellent give-and-go with Dario Saric in the first half for a bucket. Defensively, he works and he seems to know his assignments, but he was overmatched at times by the physical play of Clippers point guard Patrick Beverly.
• Saric's struggles continued Thursday night. He finished just 1 of 8 from the field and missed two point-blank layups. Brown has mentioned that what bothers him most is that Saric is missing many of shots short, likely the result of tired legs. He did hit a big three in the fourth quarter as the Clippers clawed their way back into the game. It's worth noting that Mike Muscala, who's been giving the Sixers good minutes, closed out the game in Saric's place.
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