By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) March 23, 2018
Philadelphia 118, Memphis 98 – Box Score
Like the Globetrotters of old, the Sixers are traveling around the country beating up on inferior opponents. One night after grinding the Grizzlies into dust, Philadelphia flew out of a snowstorm and down to sunny Florida, for what could have been a trap game in normal times.
But there’s no trap game when you’re up against a team tanking as hard as the Magic. The Sixers dropped 70 first half points, as Orlando showed less effort on the defensive end than we ever saw even during the darkest days of Philadelphia’s Processing. Ben Simmons was denied a triple-double (6 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists) because the blowout eventually became too large, but he wasn’t denied in the least when he grabbed a rebound and went completing unmolested down the length of the floor for a dunk.
Can Ben Simmons fly? We investigate:
Seems accurate. pic.twitter.com/H9L49RE8yU
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 22, 2018
The Magic also neglected to mark the large 7-foot social media troll galloping down the floor.
GET OUT THE WAY pic.twitter.com/JYx06YKlXs
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) March 22, 2018
Sometimes though, it wouldn’t have mattered how tight the defense was playing. Late in the first half, Joel Embiid (17 points, 9 rebounds) did his best Steph Curry impression, dribbling back into the corner and draining a three. Embiid was already celebrating down court while the shot was splashing through the net.
Embiid getting the rebound, dribbling out to the corner, and then splashing a three is a pretty good summary of tonight's first half. pic.twitter.com/7ZifDAeV7Y
— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) March 23, 2018
A 21-point lead quickly ballooned to 35 points in the third quarter. For the second straight night, Brett Brown emptied the bench early, this time giving Furkan Korkmaz 12 minutes in his first game back from a Lisfranc injury. Korkmaz only went 1-5 from the field, but it was good to see him on the court for the first time since December.
With the win, their 41st of the season, the Sixers not only guaranteed themselves their first non-losing season since 2011-12, but they pulled within one game of 3rd place in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia completed a perfect 5-0 stretch against lottery opponents, but will facee a stiffer challenge in upcoming games against Minnesota and Denver. Still, both of those contests will be at home, where the Sixers have only lost once in 2018. Plus, Joel Embiid will be well-rested, having only played a combined 40 minutes over the last two games. With just 11 games left before the start of the postseason, the big man appears ready to rock.
Joel Embiid says after tonight, he has a new goal: "I want to get to 50 wins."
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) March 23, 2018