Shorthanded Sixers Win 103-89 Against Nuggets

NBA: APR 09 76ers at Pelicans
NEW ORLEANS, LA – APR 09: v09 dunks the ball against New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) 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)

The Sixers faced off against Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets on the road without two starters yet they managed to win 103-89.

The Philadelphia 76ers came into tonight’s game against the Nuggets on a five-game losing streak after starting the season 8-2. The Sixers were without Joel Embiid (Covid-19), Matisse Thybulle (Covid-19), Danny Green (hamstring), and Ben Simmons (Personal Reasons). The Sixers have been playing shorthanded for weeks now, and it doesn’t look like it will get any better anytime soon. The Sixers were able to get a win shorthanded and were led by Tyrese Maxey (22 points) and Seth Curry (20 points). The Denver Nuggets were led by Nikola Jokic (30 points). Take a look at five observations from tonight’s win:

Tyrese Maxey

I mean, what else can we say about how Tyrese Maxey has improved. On the one-year anniversary of his draft night, he scored 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Maxey kept the team afloat during the first quarter while the offense was having trouble. His quick first step going to the basket was something the Nuggets had trouble with. Maxey was also aggressive shooting when defenders went under on screens. Maxey continues to make strides every night.

Andre Drummond

Andre Drummond hasn’t looked and engaged on the court in these last few games. He has looked a step slow on defense and tonight wasn’t any different. Drummond was late to close out on reigning MVP Nikola Jokic during pick-and-pop plays the entire first half. He did end up with 4 points and 6 rebounds, which upped his total to 9,000 rebounds for his career. With Embiid expected to be out for the remainder of the road trip, Drummond needs to bring the energy every night.

Team Defense

The defense was much better than we have seen in the last few outings for the Sixers. They are one of the worst teams in the league in transition defense, and tonight they didn’t give up too many looks in transition. They also played excellent help defense on Nikola Jokic in the third quarter to help build a lead. Without a full roster, this team needs to fight and hustle on defense like they did against the Nuggets.

Return of Curry

Curry cooled off considerably in the last two games compared to his hot start to the season. In his outing against the Jazz, he shot 1-8 for 5 points. Tonight, Seth Curry returned to early season form. He had a few bad turnovers out of the pick-and-roll but ultimately had a good night. When Curry is rolling, his game is so smooth, and it was good to see him back to normal. He scored 20 points, dished out 5 assists, and pulled down 6 rebounds. 

Charles Bassey

Charles Bassey got the nod tonight as the backup center for Andre Drummond against the Denver Nuggets this evening. This turned out to be a good decision made by coach Doc Rivers. Paul Reed had been getting backup big minutes, or Doc Rivers sometimes opted for a small-ball lineup. Bassey came out and competed hard against Denver. He ended his night with 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks. If this is the type of play we will see out of Bassey every now and again, expect to see Doc go to him more as a backup while Embiid is out.

The Sixers will next face off against the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday at 10PM.