Here are my key takeaways and "best" and "worst" awards from the 76ers' 121-110 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Ben Simmons has the rookie-of-the-year award locked up nine games into the season. The Sixers point guard is by far the best player in a deep rookie class, averaging 18 points, 9.8 rebounds and 8.2 assists. On Friday, he even dominated a game despite struggling to shoot the ball for the first three quarters.
Simmons also looks like he should be the first rookie to become an NBA-All-Star since Blake Griffin in 2011. He finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists and three blocked shots against the Pacers. As a result, he joins Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson as the only rookies in NBA history to record at least two triple doubles in his first nine games.
JJ Redick sure knows how to have a bounce-back game. The Sixers shooting guard struggled mightily on Wednesday night. He misfired on his first five three-point attempts before making his final attempts with two minutes, 54 seconds remaining. But on Friday, Redick finished with a season-high 31 points while make 8 of 12 threes. He put the game away with three straight in the fourth quarter.
The Sixers need to find a way to get both Richaun Holmes and Amir Johnson minutes off the bench. Johnson is the sturdy veteran glue guy, who's getting more comfortable with the Sixers system. Meanwhile, Holmes brings excitement and is a dunk waiting to happen.
The Sixers proved that they can wins games on nights when Joel Embiid doesn't play at his best. The dominant center had solid numbers, finishing with 18 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks. However, the Embiid was hampered by foul trouble, missed three dunks and turned the ball over six times.
"Best" and "Worst" awards
Best performance: I had to give this award to Redick on a night when Simmons recorded his second triple-double. Yes, Redick was that special. Friday night marked the first time he's scored 30 or more points since finishing with 31 as a Los Angeles Clipper against the Washington Wizards on March 29. His eight three-pointers were one shy of the career high he set against the Houston Rockets on Jan. 18, 2016 as a Clipper. On Friday, he broke open the game that was tied, was tied with two minutes and 6 seconds left, scoring nine straight points on three three-pointers on a game-sealing 11-0 run.
Worst performance: Darren Collison, the Pacers point guard, failed to get in an offensive groove. He missed eight of his nine shots en route to finishing with two points. Collison missed all of his three-pointers and didn't get to the foul line while grading out at a game-worst minus-29.
Best defensive performance: Myles Turner got this after blocking a game-high three shots to go with a steal. The Pacers center was making his first appearance after missing the previous seven games with a concussion.
Worst statistic: This goes to Pacers shooting 28.6 percent on three-pointers. Their lack of long-range marksmanship was obvious in the first and fourth quarters. They missed all four of their first-quarter three-pointers. Then they only hit 2 of 10 in the fourth.
Best statistic: This goes to the combined 13-for-21 three-point shooting by Sixers standouts Redick and Robert Covington. Covington made 5 of 9 three-pointers to go with Redick's 8-for-12 performance. The duo became the first Sixers pair to hit five plus threes in a game since Covington and Ersan Ilyasova did it on Jan. 27.
Worst of the worst: I had to give this to Embiid's three missed dunks. The 7-foot-2 center is one of the most dominant players in the game. However, on this day the big fella used too much force or didn't elevate high enough on his failed attempts.