The Sixers fell to Oklahoma City 119-117 in a thriller in South Philly tonight, which saw the NBA’s first triple (and double) overtime game of the season. Joel Embiid put the team on his back (after injuring it), playing a career-high 49 minutes and scoring 34 points but couldn’t lead his team to overcome Russell Westbrook and the Thunder.
After missing two dunks earlier in the game, Westbrook slammed one down in the third OT to let everyone know that he had taken over. And take over he did. Westbrook scored 14 of his 27 points in the three overtime periods that were played tonight, more than everyone else on his team combined, and helped lead his team to the victory.
Much of the Thunder’s success came in the first half thanks to Carmelo Anthony, who seemed to return to form after being back on the east coast. Anthony finished the night with 24 points, 16 of those coming in the first half. However, he was virtually non-existent in the fourth quarter, tallying only one rebound despite playing about 6 and a half minutes.
The Sixers didn’t take their first lead of the game until the first overtime period, having tied the game with 53 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The Sixers have been playing really strong late game basketball recently, outscoring their opponents in the second half of the past two games. Due to mistakes and poor shooting, it didn’t feel like they should have a chance at the comeback, but they did. The Thunder were up by 11 points with 5:35 left in the game and weren’t able to close out the game in regulation. The Sixers just did not stop coming.
Embiid has always said that he wants to play a full 48 minutes, and he finally got his wish. Going into tonight he was questionable with lower back tightness, an injury that he aggravated during the game. He looked visibly uncomfortable both on the bench and on the court at times but continued to play minutes, including all 15 minutes of the three OT periods. He had two huge blocks down the stretch, in the first and third overtimes, which kept the Sixers hopes alive.
Robert Covington had a rough first game back, shooting an astounding 15 shots from three and making only three of them. One of those made 3’s came in the second overtime to put the Sixers up by two with 2:31 remaining. Despite his poor shooting from 3, Covington was still +5 on the night, the only other starter besides Embiid to have a positive +/-.
Trevor Booker left the game in the third quarter with a sprained left ankle.
Ben Simmons was one rebound shy of a triple-double, buoyed by the 15 extra minutes of playing time. He seemed timid and unwilling to take shots tonight, even more than usual. I hope that we get the Simmons hook shot back in the near future.
Steven Adams fouled out in the 3rd OT and got the patented Embiid wave goodbye. Unfortunately, Westbrook imitated it at the end of the game.
Joel Embiid and Carmelo Anthony got into it a couple times on the court tonight, both in regulation and overtime. I would’ve loved to get the win just for the Instagram caption.
There was some questionable refereeing down the stretch, on both sides of the ball. The refs appeared to miss a shooting foul against the Sixers at the end of the 2nd OT. They also got Brett Brown all riled up by not allowing him to advance the ball to half court out of a timeout at the end of the game.
The Sixers at the 7-20 Chicago Bulls on Monday at 8:00 pm EST.