The Philadelphia 76ers (25-15) played the Detroit Pistons (11-33) yet again. With Joel Embiid and P.J. Tucker back in the starting lineup for a home matchup following a blowout win on the road, it’s no wonder that this contest resulted in a blowout win for the Sixers. This one finished with a score of 147-116.

For the second time in three days, let’s break down a Sixers win over the Pistons.

Sixers player notes

Joel Embiid: 36 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, 12-20 FG shooting

Embiid got hit scoring started with a transition dunk off of a long pass from Harden. He tallied nine points and a pair of blocks right out of the gate. Similar to his New Year’s Eve performance, he wasn’t super aggressive but did what he needed to do in order to get an easy win for his squad. Following a three-game absence, that’s a job very well done.

Nerlens Noel, his former teammate, had just a bad time guarding him. Embiid blew by him and outmuscled him with ease on his way to a high-scoring night. Harden also found him for a ton of buckets, making life extra easy for him.

James Harden: 16 points, 12 rebounds, 15 assists, 2 steals, 6-7 FG shooting

Harden had another strong game and looked eager to collect another triple-double, even contesting Embiid for a few boards on the defensive end (though he was still in the general vicinity). He locked in his 72nd career triple-double with just under seven minutes remaining in the third quarter. His playmaking really shined, as he notched his fifth game of the season (which leads the league) with 15 dimes.

Tyrese Maxey: 16 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 6-11 FG shooting

Maxey didn’t get going until the second quarter, scoring on a blow-by layup and a nice pull-up from the mid-range. He proved to be really hard to contain in the third quarter, where he scored with several old-fashioned three-point plays and helped power an extra dominant quarter for Philly.

Tobias Harris: 14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 6-6 FG shooting

Harris leveraged his size to get to the hoop all throughout the game and scored the Sixers’ first seven points. He didn’t miss a shot, which included two looks from deep, and once again had a solid game against one of his former teams.

Pistons player analysis

Jaden Ivey: 17 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 4-8 FG shooting

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It was once again an inauspicious start for the neophyte. He used his powerful athleticism to get to where he wanted on the court and made plenty of plays for his teammates but he had trouble finding good looks at scoring early on. He kept the aggression going, though, and hit a pair of triples in the third quarter but couldn’t even muster up much against the Sixers’ backups.

Hamidou Diallo: 14 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 6-9 FG shooting

Diallo gave the Sixers a fraction of trouble with his highly efficient scoring. His athleticism made him tougher to contain on the boards than his teammates and effective at scoring near the basket, especially against the Montrezl Harrell-Georges Niang backcourt.

Killian Hayes: 5 points, 1 rebound, 6 assists, 2 steals, 2-11 FG shooting

Hayes looked composed and confident all game long, keeping his dribble alive amid pressure from the Sixers defense and getting good shots off. He shot a woeful 1-8 in the first half but was still one of the Pistons’ better performers (not that that says much) due to his playmaking and aggressive defense.

Game notes

1st half

  • The Sixers and Pistons’ matchup on Sunday was not very competitive and this one was closer to start out but was still a near-wire-to-wire win. Detroit lead 3-2 after a minute of game time and that was it for their lead.
  • Harris made his first three shots of the night and the Sixers made six of their first seven. A 14-5 lead just over three minutes into the game forced a Detroit timeout. Philly was a bit sloppy on offense (seven turnovers from six different players in the first quarter) but just had too much talent for the young Pistons to handle.
  • Harden had seven points, five rebounds and five assists in the first quarter as he pursued yet another triple-double. He continued to show a willingness to take catch-and-shoot triples and muscled his way to the rim.
  • The Pistons’ lack of size was very apparent in the second quarter. With their only healthy center (Nerlens Noel) out, the Sixers got and made numerous shots from up close. Still, they stayed in it and didn’t let the game get too out of hand. They could have kept it closer if not for some misses on their own close shots.
  • Embiid checked back in during the second quarter and helped the Sixers score eight unanswered points. It was just too easy for him to score and his presence unlocked a lot for his teammates.
  • The Sixers led the Pistons 65-43 at halftime, winning the battle of points in the paint 36 to 12.

2nd half

  • The Pistons started getting more aggressive guarding the pick-and-roll but all that resulted in was the Sixers swinging the ball around until someone got open. Four and-one plays (three from Maxey, one from Harden) helped the Sixers pish their lead further.
  • The Sixers kept their foot all the way on the gas — playing up-tempo with some nice fastbreak buckets, controlling the glass and going up by as much as 41 points. They scored 42 points in the quarter, marking a new high for the season. Embiid accounted for 14 of those points while Maxey and Melton each had nine.
  • Shake Milton got to cooking in the fourth quarter while Saddiq Bey padded his stats in an effort to erase a four-point, 1-10 shooting night through the first three quarters.
  • Jaden Springer made the most of his garbage-time minutes with a putback dunk, a fastbreak layup off of his own steal and a layup off of a cut in consecutive possessions.

Random thoughts

  • I know the Sixers have gone through tons of injuries this season but I still find it wild that the Harden-Maxey-Harris-Tucker-Embiid starting lineup only has seven starts under its belt and appeared tonight for the first time since December.
  • Nerlens Noel made a three.
  • Harden fed Embiid better than he has ever fed any player in a single game in his career. The big fella’s buckets accounted for 12 of his 15 assists.
  • One of my friends who was in attendance at the game caught a T-shirt. Good going, Zack!

The Sixers will play one more home game on Thursday against the Oklahoma City Thunder before going on a West Coast road trip.