Shorthanded Sixers Unable to Extinguish CP3 and the Red Hot Suns

NBA: APR 09 76ers at Pelicans
NEW ORLEANS, LA – APR 09: New Orleans Pelicans center Willy Hernangomez (9) fouls Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) during a NBA game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Philadelphia 76ers at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA on Apr 09, 2021. (Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire)

Despite another MVP-caliber performance from Joel Embiid, the Sixers were ultimately unable to take care of business against the Suns.

The Sixers were unable to take care of business on their home floor against the surging Phoenix Suns. Even with an MVP performance by Joel Embiid, a gutsy defensive showing from Matisse Thybulle, and an almost made game-tying full-court shot, the Sixers still came up short. Led by the trio of Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton, the Suns were able to stave off a late surge from Philly. The Suns secured their 42nd win of the season as they close in on the #1 seed in the Western Conference.

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Losing at home is never something that should be written off as “okay” when it comes to this particular Sixers team. That being said, it’s definitely worth noting just how understaffed Doc Rivers‘ crew was tonight. Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and Seth Curry were all inactive due to some sort of injury prevention protocol, leaving a majority of the heavy lifting on Embiid’s broad shoulders once again.

Embiid was fantastic, finishing the night with a game-high 38 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. The case for the big man to win this year’s MVP award is growing stronger and stronger by the night, even with all of the missed games.

The Sixers star center even put up a half-decent full-court shot attempt at the buzzer in attempt to send things to overtime:

This team just can’t catch a break when it comes to friendly rim rolls, huh?

Regardless, tonight was still a mildly encouraging performance from a Sixers team that was missing three of its best players. Danny Green scored 18, George Hill and Tyrese Maxey both chipped in double figures off the bench, and Thybulle somehow managed to hold Booker to just 19 points on 6-14 shooting.

Despite the loss, Rivers had his guys battling to the very last second, as both Embiid and Furkan Korkmaz made impressive clutch threes in the closing seconds of the game, forcing Phoenix to earn their stripes at the free-throw line.

The Sixers are back in action tomorrow night against the Milwaukee Bucks, a rather important matchup when you consider the state of the Eastern Conference at the moment. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 PM ET.