Sixers finally put it all together – NBCSports.com

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Sixers finally put it all together - NBCSports.com

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Heading into Wednesday night’s matchup vs. the Knicks, the Sixers had yet to piece together a complete game. Even when they’d started fast, they’d found a way to let big leads evaporate.

But on Wednesday, the Sixers cruised from start to finish in a 117-91 win over the Knicks, moving to 15-8 on the season, 11-1 at home.

Joel Embiid (26 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists) and JJ Redick (24 points on 10 for 14 shooting) led the way for the Sixers.

• “Our last memory playing here at home stunk, and we want to fix it,” head coach Brett Brown said before the game.

The Sixers suffered their first home loss of the season in their previous game at Wells Fargo Center, a 121-112 letdown to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.

This time, they did what they were supposed to do against another team outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, building an early advantage and never allowing the Knicks back into the game. The difference in class between the two teams was obvious.

The Sixers never trailed and shot a season-best 54 percent.

• When a young big man first takes on Embiid, you can confidently mark him down for a few early fouls. Mitchell Robinson picked up three in his first three minutes on the floor against Embiid, who is a master at exploiting overeager defenders.

The Knicks seemingly had no clue how to guard the two-man game between Embiid and Redick, which resulted in several easy looks for Embiid.

JOJO JAMMIN’.

Embiid with a throwdown, compliments of JJ Redick in our @Wendys highlight against the Knicks. pic.twitter.com/hD5Dx8C379

— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) November 29, 2018

Embiid’s handles and agility are still surprising to see from a 7-foot center, even though guard-like skills are nothing new for him.

His spin move and slam dunk on 6-foot Trey Burke was special.

JO MY WORD.

Embiid with a monster of a spin and a slam move, as his father, Thomas, watches from the sidelines. pic.twitter.com/3l53e54eaG

— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) November 29, 2018

• Redick started 6 for 6 with 14 points in the first quarter.

Redick got moves. 👀 pic.twitter.com/zaDXtXriam

— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) November 29, 2018

After knocking down a variety of three-pointers, leaning midrange jumpers, and reverse layups, Redick’s first miss was a wide-open finger roll early in the second period.

• The Sixers used Mike Muscala as their backup center, as Amir Johnson did not play meaningful minutes for the second straight game. Johnson replaced Embiid with eight minutes to play, with the game in hand.

In theory, Muscala is better used at the five; in that position, his ability to stretch the floor is most lethal, and his lack of quickness on the perimeter isn’t exposed the way it is when he plays as a power forward.

Opponents have often tried to isolate their guards on Muscala, and because the Sixers usually switch one through four, Muscala has frequently been stuck on an island, trying to guard skilled perimeter players.

Muscala also played some at the four next to Embiid when Wilson Chandler was on the bench. He finished with 10 points (4 for 6 shooting) and eight rebounds. Muscala had shot 1 for 7 over the past two games.

In the short term, if Brown doesn’t trust Johnson, Muscala makes the most sense as the Sixers’ backup five.

• Brown said pregame that general manager Elton Brand and the Sixers organization “hope to give information” on Markelle Fultz on Friday, though an update might not come until later. Fultz has been in New York to see multiple specialists this week.  

• According to Brown, rookie Zhaire Smith has been doing light movement and shooting with an assistant coach over the past week. Smith had serious complications from an allergic reaction after suffering a Jones fracture in his left foot in August, and is not expected to return this calendar year, per a team source (see story).

The Sixers eventually plan to integrate Smith into the structure of their G-League team, the Delaware Blue Coats.

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