Over the past week, the Philadelphia 76ers have been on a five game road trip that saw them go 4-1, ending it with a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.
Now that the games are over and the Sixers go into a two game homestand, here is a recap of the biggest storylines over the past five games.
Offense on fire
In the five games that the 76ers played on the road, they averaged 128.4 points per game. The offense has been clicking, and while the defense hasn’t been as good as fans may hope, it is still a great sign for the rest of the season and the playoffs.
There’s not much to say about Joel Embiid that hasn’t already been said. The big man has been impressive as ever offensively over the last week, including a 42 point effort in the win over the Pacers and 39 points against the Timberwolves.
As the season goes on, Embiid looks like he’s only getting better and more efficient scoring the ball within the 76ers offense, while still allowing other guys to play off him.
One important aspect of the offense that has been proven in this stretch is its versatility. On a night where there was not much defense being played in Indiana, the 76ers won a shootout, 147-143.
On other nights with more defense, the offense is able to adapt and find the best matchups on the floor between Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, James Harden and others.
It all starts with Embiid, and the 76ers offense is scorching hot.
Maxey back in star form
The idea of Maxey coming off the bench made some sense, and the 76ers experimented with it. Not all experiments work out.
Maxey struggled in his time as a sixth man. At times, he looked like he couldn’t find rhythm or confidence, two things that the young guard is known for.
But as he returned to the starting lineup over the last week, Maxey is right back to being the efficient volume scorer that he is. During the road stretch, he averaged 26.6 points per game.
Ideally, De’Anthony Melton’s defensive impact and all-around game seemed like a better fit for a starting lineup dominated by the pairing of Embiid and Harden.
But for whatever reason, when Maxey is a starter, his confidence soars and the team does with it. ‘
Sharing the floor with a certain former MVP point guard that averages nearly 11 assists may be the key for Maxey.
Vintage Harden back?
Harden has still been a superstar this season, but what he’s done over the past week looks more and more like the player that averaged 36.1 points and won an MVP in Houston.
For most of his time with Philadelphia, he’s been a secondary scorer, prioritizing his natural playmaking skills to put the team first.
Yet, in the four games he played on the road, he averaged 25.5 points, including a 38 point double-double against the Bucks.
When the 76ers need someone to take the scoring load off of Embiid, Harden is proving time again and again that he is capable.
The ability for Harden to turn on the switch and aggressively attack the paint or shoot the lights out from deep could be the biggest factor in the 76ers championship pursuit.
Featured image courtesy of David Berding/Getty Images
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