The Sixers found themselves breaking a four-game losing streak as they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder by a score of 120-90.
Ben Simmons made his long-awaited return after missing the past four games due to an illness. While he may not have exactly dominated, he was still a key cog in the Sixers’ victory as he grabbed three steals and two blocks in 23 minutes in addition to his 12 points.
Simmons has gotten plenty of slack over the past week, season, well, his career, really, and even though this win was against the lowly Thunder, the change in the defense was palpable. The entire team looked to be more engaged defensively, and Simmons clearly brought that intensity on his end.
The Sixers will need that defensive intensity if they’re to have any chance against the Bucks or the Nets. It was frustrating to see Ben Simmons miss those four straight games, but it was very encouraging to see him pick up right where he left off defensively.
While a great performance against a team like the Thunder doesn’t mean Reed will take Mike Scott’s minutes on a permanent basis, it does at least show once again that his G League performance wasn’t a mirage and that he has a real future in the NBA, hopefully with the Sixers for a long time.
A victory tonight doesn’t mean everything is suddenly fixed, but it was a great start for a team that has the easiest schedule over the course of the rest of the season. The Sixers will have to make the most out of this opportunity as they will face the Atlanta Hawks (without Trae Young) both Wednesday and Friday.
The Sixers could very easily sweep the workweek, which would go a long way as the team fights to regain the top seed in the Eastern Conference.