Sixers propelled by bench production in a blowout victory over the Spurs

Matisse Thybulle
LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 01: Philadelphia 76ers Forward Matisse Thybulle (22) looks on before 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)

In the first game since Joel Embiid suffered his frightening injury, the Sixers took care of business and cruised to a 134-99 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

The Sixers were led by all-star caliber performances from Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons as well as an array of impressive bench performances. This game was a great display of shooting from the entire team, and the Sixers looked to be clicking on all cylinders for the majority of the game.

Conversely, it was a disappointing performance from the San Antonio Spurs. The team greatly missed DeMar DeRozan and the 20.3 points per game that he contributes. The 4-time all-star was forced to miss the game due to personal issues and will rejoin the team at a later date.

First Half

The Sixers started red-hot out of the gates in this one and held control of the game from the start. Danny Green had the hot hand early on, scoring 11 points on 4-4 from the field and 3-3 from beyond the arc in the first 6 minutes of play.

Ending the first quarter on an 18-8 spurt, the Sixers took a 33-22 lead into the first break. Tobias Harris also proved to be productive as he added 6 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal in his first 10 minutes of play.

Ben Simmons shook off the early, quarantine-induced rust to put together a stat-line of 9 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds in the first half.

The Spurs fought back from an early deficit to make it a competitive matchup. The Spurs leaned on Pennsylvania native, Lonnie Walker, to provide a spark off the bench and he produced with 13 first-half points.

When it all was settled, the Sixers took a 60-52 lead into halftime with Seth Curry, Danny Green, and Tobias Harris each with double-figure scoring totals.

Second Half

It was the third quarter when things truly began to break open. The Sixers won the 3rd quarter by a margin of 46-21 and it felt as if the whole team could not miss. Largely led by the bench group, the Sixers ripped off a 28-6 run in which the team scored on 19 of their 20 offensive possessions.

It felt as if the lead would not stop growing and as a result, the starters did not see the floor for the entire 4th quarter. This proved an important opportunity to preserve them while giving young players a chance to get some minutes.

Matisse Thybulle and Furkan Korkmaz added a combined 26 points on 6-6 shooting from beyond the arc. Matisse also added three steals and a block to the stat sheet.

The Sixers emptied out the bench and Blue Coats’ star Paul Reed was given an opportunity. The team ended up securing a victory by a score of 134-99 and no starter on either team played more than 29 minutes.

Sixers Biggest Takeaway

This was one of the most stress-free and enjoyable games that the Sixers have produced all season. They looked sharp from top to bottom and the level of play did not drop ,even when the starters took a rest.

While it is obviously never a good thing to lose your star player to injury, this stretch without Joel Embiid is a valuable opportunity for the rest of the team to gain confidence and grow their games.

The bench unit has been a major topic of conversation as the trade deadline approaches. While the guys lower on the depth chart have been criticized for their lack of production throughout the season, this has not been the story over the past few games.

The number is inflated due to the extra minutes, but the Sixers bench scored a total of 56 points tonight. This continues the trend of impressive bench production as over the last 5 games the Sixers bench has averaged 53.8 points per game as a unit.

This is the top production of any bench unit in the league as no other team averages more than 48 points during that stretch.

The Sixers certainly will be unable to reach their peak as a team until Joel Embiid returns from injury, but if the rest of the team is able to find their stride before he returns it could go a long way to improving the team as a whole.

Now off to a 2-0 start after the all-star break and a winning streak reaching five games, the Sixers have picked up right where they left off in the first half of the year. Their next matchup will be Tuesday night against the 7th-place New York Knicks.

Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire