A full team effort: Sixers defeat the Spurs 134-99.
The Philadelphia 76ers picked apart the Spurs’ defense in the third quarter last night, scoring 46 points and propelling the Embiid-less Sixers to a 134-99 victory. The Sixers were without MVP frontrunner Joel Embiid, who will miss at least two weeks because of a bone bruise in his left knee.
The 35-point win margin was the largest margin of victory for the Sixers this season. Since returning from the All-Star break, the Sixers have three straight wins of 22 points or more. It was their fifth straight win and ninth win out of their last eleven games.
The Sixers shot 15-for-29 from three point range and outscored the Spurs by 33 points from beyond the arc. As a whole, the 76ers shot 57.1 percent from the floor and 51.7 percent from three point range. The third quarter was the highlight of the night for the Sixers. The Sixers shot 5-for-7 from three point range. Seth Curry hit two, with Green, Harris, and Thybulle all hitting one. They hit 18 of their 23 shots and committed zero turnovers, essentially sucking the life out of the visiting San Antonio Spurs.
Every single player on the Sixers’ team contributed last night. That’s exactly what needs to happen over the next two to three weeks while Joel Embiid gets healthy. Furkan Korkmaz scored 16 points on 5-for-7 shooting. Kork was perfect from three point range shooting 4-for-4. Matisse Thybulle continues to improve offensively, scoring 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting to go along with his elite defense. Dwight Howard scored eight points and brought in eight board off the bench.
No matter who has been on the court, the Sixers have been an elite team in March. Posting a 5-0 record with a 122.9 offensive rating and a 103.8 defensive rating, it’s really not even close. The Sixers have a +19.1 net rating which is the best in the league during the month of March. In second place, you have the Brooklyn Nets at +11.6. The Sixers continue to stay ahead of the Nets in the standings as well. At 27-12, the Sixers are the best team in the Eastern Conference and have a game lead on the Nets.
As expected, Ben Simmons was a bit rusty to start the game after missing nearly two weeks of action with the All-Star break and COVID-19 health and safety protocols. As the game went on, he was definitely more comfortable. Curry and Korkmaz were a huge help, setting screens and opening up driving lanes for Simmons later in the game. While it wasn’t an offensive showcase for Ben, he still finished with 14 points, four rebounds, nine assists, and a steal, turning the ball over just once.
Tobias Harris continues to be the best Sixers player minus Joel Embiid. Harris scored 23 points on 10-for-18 shooting with nine rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and one block. Last night, Harris was finding open teammates in transition and off the dribble. He even got a few Simmons-like drive-and-kick assists while utilizing the pick-and-roll to find driving lanes to the basket.
Last night marked the first time that fans were back in attendance at the Wells Fargo Center this season. The Sixers are allowed to have 15 percent capacity at home games, which is good for a little over 3,000 fans in the building. It’s only a matter of time before the media gets ahold of our “sucks” chant during pregame and says something along the lines of “Philly fans are disrespectful” but man, do I love it seeing these types of videos on the timeline again.
After the game, Ben Simmons commented on the biggest loser in America, Justin Kutcher, who had the audacity to bring up Simmons during the Wizards game late last week. Kutcher, claimed that Ben Simmons was the most overrated player in the NBA and that the only reason he wins awards is because of the “hype” around him. Obviously, that is the dumbest thing someone could say and downright embarrassing coming from a play-by-play announcer. As for Simmons, he couldn’t care less, especially coming from a 5’5” commentator for the Wizards.
The Sixers are at home all week, with their next game against the New York Knicks tomorrow night. They will then face the Bucks and Kings at home before hitting the road again to first face the Knicks, before heading on a tough West Coast road trip in which they will face the Warriors, Lakers, Clippers, and Nuggets.