After a brutal four-game road trip, the Philadelphia 76ers returned home on Monday night to square off against the red hot Oklahoma City Thunder. Through a heavy distribution of scoring and some very timely distance shooting, the Sixers were able to snap out of their slump with a 120-113 victory.
Entering the 2019/2020 season, many felt the Thunder were destined for a down season as they seemingly entered “rebuild mode” this past offseason. Surprisingly, mainly due to the emergence of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as a legit scorer and some superb leadership from veteran point guard Chris Paul, the Thunder have found themselves sitting in a playoff spot.
Monday night was no different for OKC, as they gave the Sixers an extremely competitive game. Center Steven Adams posted a 24 point-15 rebound double-double and Dennis Schroder poured in 21 off the bench.
However, the 76ers were able to put together a complete “team performance” for the first time since Christmas Day, even with their star player playing through injury. All five starters scored 13+ and backup point guard Trey Burke contributed 12 off the bench. The team shot over 50% from both the field and beyond the arc, while also recording 31 assists.
The Sixers are now 7-1 when all five starters score in double figures, 11-2 when they shoot at least 50% from the field, and 17-2 when playing at home.
Joel Embiid’s Injury
Joel Embiid briefly went into the locker room midway through the first quarter with an apparent hand injury. He quickly returned and immediately checked back into the game only to further injure his finger. He got tangled up in a rebound scuffle and suffered a pretty grotesque-looking dislocated finger. Despite this, Embiid finished the night with a near triple-double (18 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists). After the game, Embiid mentioned he played through the pain solely because he wanted to help the team end their losing streak.
Ben Simmons Responds Again
Criticisms have been raining down on the ever-controversial Ben Simmons as of late. While this would frustrate most, the young guard has seemingly found a way to internalize it. Simmons had another signature performance in the win over OKC, scoring 17 points along with 8 assists and 15 rebounds. A key moment during the game for Ben was when he took control of the offense and scored a tough layup with under two minutes to play.
Trey Burke Staking his Claim
Trey Burke is shooting over 53% from three in his last ten games. In limited action, the backup point guard has done nothing but impress. In Monday’s win over OKC he shot 5/7 from the field and recorded 2 assists. His ball-handling and ability to create off the dribble provides a different dynamic to the Sixers offense when he’s on the court. Expect his minutes to continue to go up as the season progresses.
After what felt like an eternity, the Sixers finally ended their losing streak. Unfortunately, there isn’t too much time to celebrate. The #2 seed Boston Celtics come to town this Thursday in what should be an extremely challenging matchup. The 76ers are 2-0 against the C’s this season, but the boys in green have been in extremely good form as of late.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports