Sixers Squander Embiid’s 40-Points, Blow 24-Point Lead

NBA: APR 09 76ers at Pelicans
NEW ORLEANS, LA – APR 09: Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers reacts to a play against New Orleans Pelicans 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 welcomed the Los Angeles Clippers to Philadelphia on Friday night as they aimed to overtake the shorthanded road team. In the 102-101 loss, the Sixers were absent of key perimeter depth, including Seth Curry (ankle), Matisse Thybulle (shoulder), Danny Green (hip), and Shake Milton (back). The Clippers continued to be missing their stars, Paul George (elbow) and Kawhi Leonard (knee). Due to the number of wings missing from Doc Rivers‘ rotation, he placed Isaiah Joe in the starting lineup for the second time in Joe’s career.

A couple minutes into the game, the 22-year old Joe greeted his starting lineup role with a three, which opened up the Sixers’ scoring. However, the opposition jumped out to an early 15-8 lead halfway through the first quarter. This initial run forced a Rivers’ timeout. Nine minutes into the game, the Sixers shot 4/17 from the field and 2/8 from three. As a result, the Clippers’ lead ballooned to 24-11. MVP-candidate Joel Embiid saw a double-team frequently, which caused the Sixers’ offense to sputter to a 24-17 deficit after one quarter.

Around midway through the second quarter, Philly clawed back to tie the game on a pair of Tyrese Maxey free throws. Eventually, they took the lead on a smooth Furkan Korkmaz three. The home team’s 16-4 run culminated in an impressive dunk from Embiid in transition, which forced a Ty Lue timeout. Maxey encouragingly carried the team to a 54-40 lead to close out the half. The 21-year-old and Embiid combined for 31 of the team’s 54 first-half points. After a disappointing first frame, the Sixers outscored Los Angeles 37-16 in the second quarter.

According to Rich Hofmann from The Athletic, at one point in the middle of the third quarter, the Sixers had outscored the visitors 57-22 since the end of the first quarter. Shortly following, the Sixers’ offense went scoreless for a few minutes. Los Angeles took advantage of the quick drought with a 10-0 scoring spurt, which ultimately extended to a 26-12 run. The Clippers trimmed the Sixers’ lead to 80-70 after outscoring the home team 30-26 in the third quarter.

Less than three minutes into the final frame, Luke Kennard found success from deep on two consecutive attempts, and the Philly lead was further cut to four points. This Clippers’ scoring run was lengthened to 34-14 later in the quarter. Embiid was the only reliable source of offense for Doc Rivers during that span. Los Angeles tied the game with just under two minutes remaining and, almost immediately, took a two-point lead.

With less than a minute to play, the Clippers earned a three-point lead. Their lead was cut to one following two free throws from Embiid with 22 seconds left. After a brief foul-shooting contest, the Sixers gained possession down one point with five seconds left. Maxey wedged a running floater as time expired, sealing the Clippers 102-101 comeback win. The Sixers were outscored 32-21 in the fourth.

The victors shot 46% from the field, including 11/32 from three. Reggie Jackson paced the Clippers with 19 points (8/14 FG, 1/2 3P, 2/2 FT) and 9 assists. Another significant contributor was Nicolas Batum, who tallied 15 points (6/9 FG, 3/5 3P), 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and two steals. Center Ivica Zubac was also able to perform productively, adding 12 points (6/8 FG) and 10 rebounds in 23 minutes.

The Sixers shot 42% from the field and 10/28 from three. Embiid accumulated 40 points (15/25 FG, 3/3 3P, 7/10 FT), 13 rebounds, 6 assists, and one block in 36 minutes. Tobias Harris made a steady impact in 40 minutes with 20 points (8/17 FG, 1/2 3P, 3/5 FT), 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and one block. Additionally, Maxey played an astonishing 45 minutes and showed flashes throughout, scoring 19 points (7/18 FG, 3/6 3P, 2/2 FT) and 8 assists. No other Sixers player scored more than seven points.

Next, the team will play on Sunday, January 23rd, versus the San Antonio Spurs. The away game is scheduled to tip-off at 7:00 PM EST and can be followed on NBC Sports Philly. For more Sixers coverage and everything else Philly sports, visit PhillySportsNetwork.com!

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