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Joel Embiid and the Sixers take care of business in Minnesota

What looked like it was going to be a close game, turned into a 20 point blowout very quickly. A dominant performance by Joel Embiid and his co-star (for the night), Tyrese Maxey completely took over this game and the Sixers end with a record of 4-1 on a 5 game road trip.

Read down below for a half by half breakdown and key takeaways from the night.

First Half

• Tyrese Maxey started for an injured James Harden tonight, so I expected a lot of poor ball movement and playmaking but it wasn't as bad as we thought.

• Sixers didn't do a terrible job without James Harden, Maxey looked really aggressive as soon as the game started. He ended the first quarter with 9 points and the first half with 14 points.

• When you have James Harden out, Doc Rivers should be running Tobias Harris with the bench squad more because of the lack of scoring when they come on the court.

• Someway, somehow the Sixers were running their offense through Georges Niang at the end of the first quarter (Yes, you read that right. I said Georges Niang).

• I keep coming back to this point, but im going to say it again. Shake Milton is a very underrated playmaker and I truly believe there can be a game where he wins in for the Sixers.

• When Maxey was able to get a mismatch and have Rudy Gobert or Kyle Anderson being the defender, Maxey absolutely destroyed them. He dominated the first half and was able to get whatever he wanted. His foul drawing ability has been fantastic since he got back into the starting lineup.

• Here's something that you don't hear too often...The Sixers had an amazing rebounding effort in the first half.

Second Half

• Talk about a dominant performance from Joel Embiid. He had 22 points in the third quarter, outscoring the entire Timberwolves team. Embiid was getting whatever he wanted with Rudy Gobert guarding him, they had to switch Gobert onto PJ Tucker. The defensive falloff Rudy Gobert has had this year is mind-blowing if you think about how scary he was defensively in the last few years.

• This game was clearly over with after Joel Embiid decided to take over the entire game. Look at that, the Sixers are holding a 20 point lead throughout the entire fourth quarter.

Key Takeaways

• As much credit as we give Joel Embiid, a ton of credit needs to go towards Tyrese Maxey. James Harden was announced out before tip off so Maxey needed to take the shot creation & playmaking role. He did that very well tonight. He finished the night with 27 points and had 4 3's.

• Being able to play at this high level without James Harden is huge. In order to win a championship, you need to get hot at the right time. That's a fact with all sports. If this is the start to a Sixers hot streak, this will need to last until June if they were to reach the NBA finals.

• I hope Georges Niang can hit his shot consistently in the playoffs. He's still shooting 40% from deep on the year, but has had his big struggles in the last few weeks.

• An absolute legendary performance from Joel Embiid tonight. 39 points in only 28(!!) minutes is extraordinary. I cannot wait to see this guy under the big lights in the playoffs.

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