By Jerry Wein
Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid were out of the lineup last night for the Sixers.
Seth Curry too.
So Tobias Harris scored 23 of his 29 points in the first half to lead the Sixers over the Sacramento Kings 129-105.
“He really set the tone tonight with his attitude and then obviously his play,” coach Doc Rivers said. “His total play was phenomenal.”
The Eastern Conference-leading 76ers (29-13) are now a game ahead of the Brooklyn Nets.
“Are we willing to fall into the distraction of, ‘Hey, we don’t have two of our top dogs?’ Or are we willing to embrace it?” Harris said.
“I take that stuff personal when people believe we can’t win without those guys because I know how much talent we have as a group. And I know how well we play together as a team as a whole. We have a culture and a system here that works. When we trust it and do what is asked of us, we’re a hell of a team.”
Shake Milton had 28 points and Danny Green scored 18 and Harris added 11 rebounds and eight assists.
In addition to regular starters Green and Harris, the Sixers went with Tony Bradley, Matisse Thybulle and Milton to open the game.
“With all those guys out, what we did was execute well,” Rivers said.
The Sixers started with 16-of-26 shooting — including 6-for-8 from 3-point range — in the first quarter to take a 42-21 lead.
Sacramento never got close after that.
The offense kept coming for the Sixers in the second, and they were up 73-52 at halftime.
Philly took its biggest lead on Dwight Howard’s tip-in with 6.1 seconds left in the third period that made it 106-80.
The 76ers finished shooting 56% (48 of 86) from the field, including 48% (11 of 23) from 3-point range.
“It’s obviously good to play that type of basketball and get a victory,” Harris said. “Just a testament to guys making shots, us playing in a flow and getting into a rhythm.”
Buddy Hield scored 25 points and De’Aaron Fox added 16 for Sacramento, which dropped to 2-3 on a six-game road trip that concludes Monday at Cleveland. The Kings (17-25) entered 2½ games behind Memphis for the No. 10 seed and a berth in the NBA’s Play-In Tournament.