The 2019-20 NBA season has been a wild experience for Sixers fans. Entering the year with lofty expectations of competing for a championship, the Philly faithful was mainly met with disappointment. Sitting in the 6th seed prior to the league’s suspension, things weren’t going all that well for the Sixers.
However, despite the year primarily being filled with frustration, the team did manage to pull off some pretty incredible victories. Dating all the way back to the season opener, this new series will be taking a look at the “Top 5” best Sixers’ wins over the course of the last few months.
Starting first with one of my personal favorites, the victory over the Los Angeles Clippers heading into the All-Star break.
The Sixers hosted the Clippers on February 11th, and managed to pull out a drama fueled victory by a score of 110-103. Simmons and Embiid led the way for Philly, both pouring in 26 apiece (Simmons also had a triple-double).
Leonard dropped 30 for the Clippers, while Paul George massively struggled against the Sixers defense, going 3-15 from the field.
Tobias Harris was solid with a 17 point double-double, and Josh Richardson also contributed with a clean 21.
Showcasing one of the best overall “team performances” on the Sixers end of things, this game was unbelievably fun to watch. I enjoyed it so much myself that I stayed up until 2 AM that night just to watch the re-run that was airing.
Embiid and Simmons
Criticism had rained down on the Sixers two All-Stars all year long. Talk shows like First Take and Undisputed had repeatedly run segments based around the idea that the duo couldn’t operate together. Despite posting absurdly good numbers when on the court at the same time, a narrative had begun that the co-stars needed to be separated.
The win over the Clippers all but ended that discussion. Despite LA owning some of the best defenders in the league, they had no answer for the Embiid-Simmons duo. The two combined for 52 points on 52.5% shooting. They complimented each other perfectly, showing the whole world why they’re still one of the best young partnerships in the NBA.
On national television and right before the All-Star break, all eyes were on the Clippers and Sixers that Tuesday night. Despite their records not necessarily showing it at the moment, many around the league still felt both teams were potential finals contenders.
With so much pressure and anticipation surrounding the matchup, it had that “big fight” feel to it. Two heavyweights slugging it out for the world to see. The fact that the Sixers showed up with their “A game” was a sight to behold.
Ben Simmons vs Kawhi Leonard
One of the more intriguing matchups during last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinals, basketball fans were itching to see Simmons get a shot at Kawhi again. Developing into one of the best all-around defenders in the NBA this year, many felt Simmons could hold his own against the now NBA champion.
Ultimately, Simmons didn’t just hold his own, he dominated. Posting a triple-double while holding Kawhi to an embarrassing +/- of -10, the now 2x All-Star had his way with “the Klaw”.
While the win over the Clippers didn’t do a lot in terms of playoff seeding, and it wasn’t really a “rivalry” win, it was arguably the biggest psychological victory for the 76ers in 2020. Taking Kawhi and the Clippers to school on national television proved to everyone just how dangerous Philly could still be.
Check out some of the recent entires in our other Sixers-related series running at the moment:
“Rewinding the Process”: https://phillysportsnetwork.com/2020/04/09/rewinding-the-process-tony-wrotens-historic-days-as-a-sixer/
“What if?”: https://phillysportsnetwork.com/2020/04/11/what-if-the-sixers-never-drafted-joel-embiid/
“Sixers’ Draft Preview”: https://phillysportsnetwork.com/2020/04/11/sixers-draft-preview-vernon-carey-jr/
Mandatory Credit – © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports