After dropping their last four games on the road, the 76ers were really looking for a bounce-back win in Oklahoma on Friday night. However, due to poor offensive rhythm, a lack of aggressiveness, and an overall sloppiness, the Sixers failed to end their road losing streak. This time falling to the Thunder by a score of 127-119 in overtime.
Joel Embiid: 31 points, 12 rebounds, 4/8 3P
Josh Richardson: 28 points, 3/6 3P
Danillo Gallinari: 28 points, 7 rebounds, 11/11 FT
Entering into the game, there were a few key storylines to watch. Embiid has historically dominated Thunder center Steven Adams, Tobias Harris hadn’t hit a three in 23 attempts, and the Sixers were finally playing with their full starting five in what felt like ages.
Early on things seemed to be trending upwards for the 76ers. Embiid hit his first two deep balls, Tobias broke his three-less streak within the first few minutes of the game, and Al Horford was playing key minutes when JoJo was resting.
However, the Philly offense quickly turned into a disorganized mess. Eight first-half turnovers and a plethora of poor shot attempts allowed the Thunder right back into the game. OKC up 54-49 at halftime
Despite a rocky conclusion to the first half, the Sixers were able to find a semblance of an offensive rhythm in the third quarter. Deep post-ups and an improved attacking mindset from Ben Simmons led to a 9-0 run for Philly as they retook the lead. Josh Richardson was specifically productive in the scoring department during this time.
Per usual though, the Sixers in typical Sixers fashion found a way to blow things. Outscored in the fourth quarter by their opponent for the third straight game, Philly was forced into a nail biter of an ending.
Embiid took a horribly contested 20-foot jumper with around five seconds to go and Gallinari missed a half-decent look at a game-winner at the buzzer. To overtime they went.
Simply put, OT was a disgustingly ugly period of basketball for the 76ers. Outscored 20-12, including a 9-0 run at one point for OKC, Philly was definitively outplayed. Both Simmons and Harris fouled out, for good measure.
Another game, another late collapse for Brett Brown and the Sixers as they drop to 7-5 on the season.
Oklahoma City attempted 41 free throws compared to Philadelphia’s 22. For a team that has been praised for their league-best size and physicality, this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. A lack of assertiveness from everyone on the roster has led to a team that overall struggles to impose their will, both early and late in games.
Late Game Execution
After losing Jimmy Butler this past offseason, the Sixers needed to establish who their next “closer” would be. Through 12 games it’s still completely a mystery as to who that will be. Harris has struggled with his shot, Embiid missed this most recent game-winner, and Simmons still continues to shy away from contact late. This team is going nowhere fast without someone who can play some “hero ball” in the clutch.
Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports