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Sixers can’t get revenge on Thunder, fall in OKC

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New archenemy Russell Westbrook came to play, and ended up giving the Sixers another loss.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The budding rivalry between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Oklahoma City Thunder added another chapter tonight, as the two teams battled in Oklahoma City. The Thunder won this battle 122-112, but no worries, there’s still time for the Sixers to win the war.

The new big 3 in Oklahoma City were on their games tonight, as new number one enemy Russell Westbrook got off to a tough start, but couldn’t miss to end the game, ending with 37 points. Add in Paul George’s 31 points and Carmelo Anthony’s 17 points, and the Thunder had enough big name stars to take big time shots that the Sixers just couldn’t hang in the end.

The big names of the Sixers did their best to stick around, even taking leads at points in the second half, but the experience of the Thunder was too much. Joel Embiid did all he could to get revenge on Westbrook, scoring 27 points along with 10 rebounds and 2 blocks, but couldn’t get the win in the end. If it’s any consolation prize, Embiid is now the mayor of Oklahoma City after this dunk all over Westbrook.

Ben Simmons did his thing again, scoring 22 points with 7 assists and 4 rebounds, adding in several highlight reel dunks, but once again left a lot to be desired at the free throw line, going 2-6. In the second game of a back to back for the Thunder, this game felt like a very attainable win for the very hot January Sixers, but the Thunder proved what they’re capable of when their big 3 are all on at the same time. While it was a 10 point loss, the game never truly felt over. Big runs by both sides made the game very unpredictable, and one that should be a learning lesson for the Sixers.

Once again struggling with turnovers, the Sixers never got it going late in the game, giving up the ball then failing to play strong defense, allowing open shooters to get good looks. This isn’t what the January Sixers are about, maybe the February Sixers, but definitely not the January Sixers. A tough matchup against a strong team from the Western Conference, I’m willing to chalk this loss up to just being younger and more inexperienced. Next up is a game against the Milwaukee Bucks and another member of the Joel Embiid enemy list, Malcolm Brogdon.

Six(ers) Notes:

  • Ben Simmons makes incredibly hard plays look so easy, driving to the lane and finishing at the rim is going to become even easier once the rest of his game develops
  • Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot couldn’t keep up the hot streak, scoring 6 points on 2-6 shooting from deep, along with failing to play any form of defense.
  • Richaun Holmes got in the game! That is all.
  • Simmons shot a jump shot that was close to a three pointer, it didn’t go in but the fact that he felt comfortable enough to shoot it is hopefully a good sign.
  • Justin Anderson continues to play outstanding basketball off of the bench since his return from injury. The Sixers have long needed a capable bench wing player, and Anderson looks like it.
  • The defense that looked elite against the San Antonio Spurs failed to show up tonight, let’s hope they get back on track before their next game.