The rabid win-starved 76ers fan base is finally able to see the one-two punch of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
It has been a beautiful sight.
Finally, the young dynamic duo has been healthy enough to play together. And learn together.
For now, at least, the medical updates are being put on hold. The results have been terrific.
Embiid had 21 points, 12 rebounds and six assists while Simmons compiled 19 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists in a 119-109 victory Wednesday night over the Atlanta Hawks. The win pulled the Sixers back to .500 at 4-4, the first time they reached that plateau since Nov. 13, 2013 when they were 5-5.
That’s saying something.
The chemistry between the two budding stars was evident again against the Hawks. The only way this franchise will take the next step toward the playoffs is by having their stars playing night in and night out.
Embiid scored at least 20 points for the fifth straight game.
Meanwhile, Simmons has recorded at least 10 points, five rebounds and five assists in each of his first eight career games, joining Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson (10 straight) as the only two players to open their career in such a stellar way.
Simmons is far from satisfied.
“There’s a lot more,” Simmons said. “Way more. I’ve got to keep working hard, stay in the gym. In a few years, it’s going to be fun.”
Embiid played 30 minutes and looks to be improving on his conditioning as each game concludes. The 7-foot-2 center played 30 minutes and shot 9 of 16 from the floor. More than that, he was active on both ends.
“It means, that’s what third in a row? Four out of five, so we’re just getting better,” Embiid said. “We’re a young team and, like I always say, that’s not an excuse but we just have to keep on going and getting better and, you know, we had a few losses that I wish we would have had. If we would have won those games, our record would’ve been much better than (it is now), but, you know, have to keep on going.”
These fans suffered through 75 wins in a four-year period. Embiid missed two full seasons. Simmons sat out one season.
They’re back now creating havoc in the most positive way for the Sixers. They’ve just started their journey as this young team looks to make a move in the Eastern Conference.
While prized No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz recovers from a shoulder injury, this team is being led by Embiid and Simmons. The Sixers will go as far as they take them.
The fans will enjoy every step of the trek to respectability and beyond if they continue to perform at this level.
What’s not to like?
“To be able to come here and share what we are drawing with our fans, let them experience some of the joy we haven’t had in previous years, this is a good thing,” coach Brett Brown said. “We want our home court being loud and proud, we want to give them something to cheer about. Tonight, I think, especially in the fourth period, we gave it to them.”
The season will be filled with highs and lows. With Embiid and Simmons anchoring this group and staying healthy, expect many more highs.