Sixers drop a heartbreaker to vintage Melo and the Blazers

Tobias Harris
LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 01: Philadelphia 76ers Forward Tobias Harris (12) looks on during a NBA game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Clippers on March 1, 2020 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

A frustrating loss for the Sixers tonight.

Coming off of an encouraging win over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, the Sixers were unable to repeat the affair late Thursday night against the Trail Blazers. Led by Carmelo Anthony and Damian Lillard, Portland handed Philadelphia a relatively frustrating loss.

The evening kicked off with Portland completely lighting it up from downtown. While their three-point percentage eventually dipped down to a somewhat reasonable 44.7%, they still cashed in 17 total threes – a pretty ridiculous total considering how good the Sixers have operated defensively this season.

To counteract the Trail Blazers elite shooting, the Sixers kept themselves in the matchup on the backs of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Simmons finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists, while Embiid poured in yet another 30+ point performance (35).

Tobias Harris chipped in 17 and Seth Curry had an additional 15. The Sixers bench unit was noticeably lacking with Shake Milton out due to an ankle injury, as they combined for just 19 total points.

The first three quarters withstanding, it was ultimately “vintage Melo” who proved to be Philly’s downfall tonight. The 10x All-Star completely caught fire in the fourth quarter, draining contested shot after contested shot. Despite Tobias‘ best efforts on the defensive end, Anthony finished the night with 24 points on 9-15 shooting – a majority of it coming in the fourth quarter.

The Sixers had themselves a chance to send the game into OT/win with three seconds remaining, but a sloppy inbounds play let to a game-sealing turnover. It was a frustrating final sequence, one that Doc Rivers would undoubtedly like to have back if he could.

While the Sixers have looked like a real contender for much of the regular season thus far, it’s these random road losses against a shorthanded Portland squad that might hamper their #1 seed aspirations. As well as Anthony and Lillard played tonight, the Blazers were still without both CJ McCollum and Just Nurkic.

This is a game that the Sixers – with their full strength starting five – should have won comfortably.

Philly gets a chance to redeem themselves Saturday at 3 PM ET, as they’re set to take on the surging Phoenix Suns.

Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire