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March 17, 2023

Instant observations: Joel Embiid, Sixers tear right through Hornets

Embiid put up another stellar performance and the Sixers thrashed Charlotte for their seventh straight win.

The Sixers went into Charlotte and didn't waste any time. 

Backed by another stellar Joel Embiid performance, Philly ripped right through a lowly Hornets squad, 121-82, extended their March winning streak to seven straight games and continued their surge toward the East's No. 1 seed as the regular season continues into its final stretch. 

The Sixers will have some real tests coming up real soon, but for right now, Friday night was kept pretty stress free. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

Subbing in for Kyle Neubeck, here's what I saw...

The Good

• Embiid's MVP case is only growing more undeniable by the game. He torched Charlotte at both ends of the floor, collecting four rebounds (all defensive) and 12 points within the opening quarter alone, and he only got better as the game went on. 

I mean, what are you even supposed to do about this?

Embiid is just playing on an entirely different level right now, and during a stretch like this, just about every bounce seems to go your way. That's not to say that he wasn't taking any clean shots though, because he was making tons. 

For the night, Embiid finished with a line of 13 rebounds, five assists, and 38 points, adding to a string of huge performances through the month of March so far. 

3/17 @CHA 29 16-21 6-7 13 38 
3/15 @CLE 38 12-19 10-10 18 36 
3/12 WSH 31 12-21 10-12 34 
3/10 POR 38 13-20 13-18 39 
3/7 @MIN 28 13-22 9-9 39 
3/6 @IND 37 11-16 19-19 42 
3/4 @MIL 37 11-122 6-10 31 
3/2 @DAL 36 13-21 9-13 35 

• James Harden didn't make life any easier on Charlotte either, connecting with Embiid on a number of smooth passes that led the center straight to the basket, including this between-the-legs play off a pick that Embiid threw down with authority. 

Harden had a double-double by the third quarter and with plenty of time to spare and ultimately finished with a triple-double of 11 points, 10 assists, and 11 rebounds. 

• This was probably the perfect game for Tobias Harris to settle back into a rhythm after struggling of late. He made good on his open looks when the ball came to him and even sunk a couple of shots with a defender in his face. He has to keep it going beyond Friday night, but 13 points on 5-7 shooting and a perfect 3-3 from beyond the arc in the first half is a good confidence booster to build back up on. 

• Again, what are you even supposed to do here?

• Paul Reed was quick in getting up and down the floor in his limited minutes Friday night as the backup center. The Hornets tried to take advantage of Embiid finally being off the court, but Reed came up with a couple of blocks and a nice putback of a Harden shot attempt in the second. 

• Speaking of blocks, Embiid had a few of them too, his third straight night with four of them.

• Tyrese Maxey banked one from halfcourt at the buzzer to end the first quarter and put the Sixers up two.

The Bad

• Considering the Sixers were up by as much as 38 points by the halfway mark of the fourth, I'm really not going to sit here and try to nitpick too much. 

They dominated. 

They had some questionable shot selection going for a bit there in the second quarter, but they snapped out of it quick, pulled away, and never looked back. 

The reserves were in collecting minutes before you knew it. 

• I guess all I can say is maybe I would've liked to have seen a little bit more out of Maxey, who went just 4-10 from the field and 3-7 from long range for 13 points. 

The Ugly

• Pray for Charlotte Hornets fans. Their team is bad. 

• And Terry Rozier.

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