Here comes Headband Embiid!
The Philadelphia 76ers centre put on a show at Wells Fargo Center, rocking the ninja headband, which unleashed a dominant performance to lead his team past the Brooklyn Nets 123-110.
Embiid led the way with 39 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and three steals, his 27th game with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds this season, the most in the NBA.
After missing their last game against the Orlando Magic with a stomach virus, Ben Simmons was back in the driver's seat of the 76ers offence, dishing out eight assists to go with his 16 points, while JJ Redick added 18 points on the night.
The headband gave Embiid superpowers in the first quarter as he poured in 14 points on 3-of-3 shooting from deep as the 76ers raced out to an early 38-25 lead at the end of the first quarter.
🇦🇺 @BenSimmons25 skies for the alley-oop jam ✈️ #HereTheyCome pic.twitter.com/6YuBpVa32f- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) March 28, 2019
In what could well be a first-round playoff matchup between these two teams, the 76ers sent a message early, shooting a scorching 61% from the field and 80% from the three-point line.
While Embiid took control of the offence, a vocal Jimmy Butler imposed himself on the defensive end, scrapping for rebounds and hounding the Nets ball handlers as he set the tone from the jump.
Embiid picked up where he left off in the second quarter, leading a 12-0 run as Philly grew the lead to 20 points, before the Nets responded with a small ball lineup featuring Rondae Hollis-Jefferson at the 5.
RHJ sparked the Nets, scoring six points in an 11-0 run as Brooklyn found their way back into the game, going into half-time down 68-58.
Brooklyn continued to eat into Philly's lead, with a pair of buckets from Spencer Dinwiddie cutting the lead to 71-65 early in the third quarter, before the 76ers hit back, going on a 10-0 run fueled by Tobias Harris and Boban Marjanovic as they took a 98-82 lead into the fourth quarter.
Marjanovic finished with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field, including his second career three-pointer.
BOBAN FOR THREE! #HereTheyCome- NBA (@NBA) March 28, 2019
📱💻: https://t.co/NbVc4aMYpm pic.twitter.com/PfIJjo1xko
With D'Angelo Russell held quiet on offence, the Nets struggled to get into much of an offensive rhythm, byt they refused to go away, slowly chipping away at the lead in the fourht. A Joe Harris three-pointer cut the deficit to 104-94 with eight minutes remaining, but the 76ers held on to tighten their grip on the #3 seed, opening up a three-game advantage on the Indiana Pacers..
Russell finished with 13 points and eight assists on 6-of-19 shooting, while Harris led them in scoring with 22 points. Hollis-Jefferson recorded 19 points and 10 rebounds on the night.
It was a chippy affair in Philly, with Butler and Embiid each receiving technical fouls, while D'Angelo Russell was given a technical from the bench. With three minutes to in the fourth, Simmons picked up his sixth foul with just over three minutes remaining, picking up a technical foul on his way off the court.
The Nets (38-38) have now lost five of their past seven games on their seven-game road trip and now slide down to the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference with six games left.