The Philadelphia 76ers fought a hard game in South Philadelphia on Friday night, and walked away with a win over the Indiana Pacers.
There are now zero winless teams in the NBA thanks to the New Orleans Pelicans winning on Thursday, and the Philadelphia 76ers winning in overtime, 109-105 over the Indiana Pacers.
“We just fought to the end. I thought we had a great defensive game and we have to build on that and get another win,” Joel Embiid said to Molly French after the game.
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The game felt like one that was played with urgency. For the first time, the Sixers had finally not only lasted a full four quarters, but out-did the other team in the end. A big portion of the game was a bold call by head coach Brett Brown.
Brown, despite reaching Joel Embiid’s 24 minute playing restriction at the end of regulation, played Embiid for the final three minutes or so of overtime. This was a risky move. Not only was this exceeding Embiid’s max, but the team would look absolutely awful if Embiid were to get injured in those few minutes.
Embiid started overtime on the bench after exclaiming just before that, “I’m playing.” He was visibly upset over being on the bench.
Embiid played hard, and ended up being a huge part of the play that won the game. The Sixers missed a shot, and the ball ended up getting loose. As plenty of Pacers and Sixers scrambled for the ball, Embiid came out on top and was intentionally fouled. He then went on to make his free throws.
The Sixers just played the Pacers on Wednesday as a part of a home-and-home series with the team. The Sixers lost in overtime then as well, but did not play Embiid for that game. It’s clear that he was the deciding factor here. He finished the game with 25 points and 7 rebounds.
There were some points where it seemed like Embiid should have passed, and was unaware of what was going on around him, but that awareness will grow with time and experience.
The game was back and forth, and was tied 15 times throughout the night. Paul George had 26 points and 9 rebounds, but his efforts were not enough to push the Pacers to a win. He had a chance to sink a three in overtime to tie the game, but missed the opportunity.
This game really felt like a turning point for the franchise. Coaches, as they were going down the tunnel, were visibly excited about the win just like the players. Getting that first win out of the way is huge, and more will certainly start coming.
From an outside perspective, this seemed like a bit of an underdog win, but the truth is that the Sixers have been right there in so many of their games, and it’s not a surprise that they finally came out on top, especially with Embiid giving his all.