MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 25: (L-R) Matisse Thybulle #22, James Harden #1, Tyrese Maxey #0, and Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers high five during a time out against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the third quarter of the game at Target Center on February 25, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The 76ers defeated the Timberwolves 133-102.

By Dylan MacKinnon

The bench woke up tonight, Well they eventually did. They broke a two-game streak of the bench being held under 20 pts. It still was not a huge contribution from the bench, but Georges Niang broke his cold streak from 3, and Deandre Jordan scored a bit as well.

At half, Embiid had 21 pts on 7-9 shooting. Harden had 11 pts on 3-6 shooting. Harris 9pts on 4-7 shooting. And Maxey had 8 pts on 3-6 shooting. They combined for 49 of the Sixers’ 58 pts. The bench struggled through. They combined for 1-7 shooting. A Danny Green 3pt was the only made basket from the bench in 37 minutes. Deandre Jordan also got 2 pts from the FT line. Niang missed three 3pters, and Green went 1-4 from deep.

Bench Comes to Life

But that all changed in the second half. The bench woke up. Niang went 4-4 from deep. They got a few alley-oop dunks from Deandre Jordan. Add that to a couple of Thybulle 3s. The Sixers had struggled to get any production out of players other than the main four guys, but thankfully that was not the case late in this came. Niang had 12 pts, and Jordan had 8. Nothing amazing, but compared to what they were doing, a huge step forward. As a group, the bench was a combined +24 tonight.

Some Milestones Reached

James Harden had his 3rd straight game of 20 pts and 10 assists. The first time anyone has done that since Allen Iverson in 2005. And after struggling from deep a few games in a row, he managed to go 3-8 tonight, with numerous step-back 3s. His finals numbers were 24 pts, 13asts, and 7rebs.

For Embiid, it was business as usual. he had 32 pts, 8rebs, 6asts, and add 5stls to that as well. It was his 33rd 30pt game for him. The first time anyone reached that milestone since AI had 40 plus back in 2006.

The Sixers held MVP contender Luka Doncic to 17pts on 5-20 shooting. He was 2-10 from deep. it broke a streak of 9 straight 20pts games for him. This was only the 7th time this season he was held under 20pts.

What Comes Next

The Sixers improve to 43-26.They are just a half game back from the Bucks for the 2 seed, and 2.5 back from the Heat. it also gives them a 1.5 game cushion from the 4 seed Celtics. The Sixers get a day off, and then play the Raptors at home on Sunday night, and remain home to face the Heat on Monday night.