Joel Embiid, Simmons, and Curry-less Sixers Demolish the Kings, 129-105.
Wednesday night saw the Sixers’ six-game win streak snapped in an OT loss to the Bucks 109-105. To add insult to injury, Seth Curry left the contest with a left-ankle sprain and would later be ruled out for at least the next two games. Luckily enough for the Sixers, Aaron Gordon’s thirty-eight point outburst against Brooklyn kept the Sixers at the top of the East coming into last night’s matchup against the Kings at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Sixers had already taken the first win against the Kings back in early February 119-111. That win was with a fully healthy Philly squad though, and an hour before tonight’s game Ben Simmons was ruled out with left knee soreness. So what did the Sixers do without three of their starting five? Completely dominate.
The Sixers never trailed the entire game, and opened the first three minutes of the game with an 11-2 run. That run completely foreshadowed what was to come for the rest of the game. A pull-up Tobias Harris three, a Tony Bradley rejection, back-to-back Danny Green knockdown threes, and a Matisse Thybulle slam off a steal. At one point Philly would hold an astounding thirty-six point lead in the third, and shot a season high fifty-five percent from the field.
If there was one way to describe this game, this was the “Tobias Takeover Game.” Without Ben and Joel, Harris’ play this game was going to decide if the Sixers would sink or swim, and Tobi wasn’t going to let the team drown. Harris lead all scorers with twenty-nine points on 12-18 shooting. Twenty-one of those points came in the first half, That isn’t what stood out from his game tonight though. With both Ben and Joel out, that meant somebody would have to fill the void in both rebounds and assists for the team, and Harris did just that. He tacked on eleven rebounds and eight assists, which also lead all Sixers. In the game the Sixers needed him the most, Tobias Harris led the Sixers in points, rebounds, and assists on route to a blowout win.
Harris couldn’t do it alone though, and definitely got the help he needed from a few Sixers. Danny Green was surgical on both sides of the court tonight. Offensively Green notched eighteen points, shooting at a 66 percent clip from deep. On the other end of the court Green lead all Sixers with three steals. The other stellar performance came from Shake Milton, who started in place of Ben tonight. With the added minutes Shake scored twenty-eight, with nine of those points coming from the charity stripe. Recently Shake’s confidence to go to the hoop seemed shot, and he’d begun settling for threes too often. To see him put his head down and look for contact again is a great sign, and eleven shots from the line shows it.
On a light-hearted note, Doc was able to empty the bench in the waning minutes of the fourth. The Sixers have been fortunate enough to do this in multiple games this season, but it is always more fun in front of the Philly crowd. Fans at Wells Fargo never disappoint, and after a nasty block from Vincent Poirier, MVP chants erupted.
Games like these are what make this year’s Sixers squad different. Last year, Philly would struggle to beat anyone missing just Joel, and didn’t win a single game that both him and Ben were out for. Tobias wouldn’t ever takeover games on his own, and bench players like Shake would struggle in a starting role. These are games that championship-caliber teams win, and the fact we’re finally seeing it from the Sixers is amazing.
Mandatory Credit: The Canadian Press, NBC Sports Philadelphia.