Here are my key takeaways and "best" and "worst" awards from the 76ers' 101-81 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
On this night, the Wells Fargo Center was one of the most electric arenas in the NBA. The sellout crowd of 20,605 was rocking from the pregame introductions to the final buzzer. It was a playoff-type atmosphere. One can only imagine what it will be like if the Sixers make the playoffs.
Robert Covington basically had Portland shooting guard C.J. McCollum in handcuffs. The Sixers put several different players on the former Lehigh standout. However, Covington guarded him for most of the night. And McCollum was limited to a season-low five points on 1-for-14 shooting.
Amir Johnson proved, once again, why the Sixers need to keep him in the rotation. The reserve center was full of energy and a rebounding machine. Johnson finished with four points on 2-for-4 shootingbto go with 11 rebounds in 17 minutes, 51 seconds. He was a solid fill-in when Joel Embiid was out of game.
Talking about Embiid, the Sixers could have done a better job of keeping him more involved. I know that sounds crazy when you consider he finished with a team-high 28 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. However, there were times when the Sixers had five to six straight possessions without feeding him the ball.
The Sixers kept jacking and missing ill-advised three-pointers early in the shot clock. At times, that was the reason why Portland kept getting back into the game. They need to make better decisions with the ball.
‘Best’ and ‘worst’ awards
Best performance: Embiid gets this. In addition to posting his eighth straight double-double, he finished with two blocks in 30 minutes, 9 seconds.
Worst performance: This goes to McCollum. He struggled from start to finish with Covington swarming all over him.
Best defensive performance: Covington gets this for locking down McCollum.
Worst statistic: This goes to the Trail Blazers shooting 19.2 percent in the first quarter.
Best statistic: I'm giving this to the Sixers' holding the Blazers to 81 points. It was the lowest point total an opposing team scored against them this season.
Worst of the worst: This goes to Blazers' missing their first 13 field-goal attempts.