On ESPN the Philadelphia Sixers came out and played some of their best basketball of the season, well, at least for the first 3 quarters. Once the 4th quarter came around the Sixers looked like a team straight out of the Process era, once again almost falling apart down the stretch.
Even with one of the worst 4th quarters I've ever seen the team somehow ended up getting a win they most certainly didn’t deserve. The stars of the team did show up in this matchup for the Sixers though, as Ben Simmons ended the game with a stat line of 20-6-5 and Joel Embiid ended with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks which gave the Sixers a great cushion, at one point leading by 28 points.
But, in peak Sixers fashion, no lead is ever safe and the Miami Heat went on a 29-7 run to make things interesting as the fourth quarter came down to the wire. To make things worse, it wasn’t even the Heat starting lineup that did most of the damage, it was the bench that did in the Sixers. Three bench players for the Heat ended up in double digits, led by Kelly Olynyk’s 19 points, as well as Bam Adebayo’s double-double (15 points-13 rebounds). Wayne Ellington hit 4 three pointers to really put the heat (no pun intended) on the Sixers down the stretch, but key offensive possessions in the last few minutes by the Sixers gave them a win.
The star of this game wasn’t Simmons or Embiid though, it was Dario Saric (yes, he did come over) tonight. Bringing a sense of consistency, Saric scored 17 along with 10 rebounds while also playing great defense. This game was not a good representation of what the Sixers have become this season, yes it is what they were in the beginning, but they have made strides in learning how to close out games. A win is a win, but this should also be looked at as a learning experience.
- Robert Covington started hitting his shots tonight, but still seemed a step too slow. Hopefully this was the game that gets him jump started after a rough stretch of games.
- Justin Anderson has come into his own off of the bench since his return from injury, playing solid defense and bringing a nice scoring touch from outside.
- Ben Simmons went 4-4 from the free throw line, he still has that chicken wing in his form, but the shot is getting there.
- Hassan Whiteside left early because of illness, so another round is won by Joel Embiid in this rivalry.
- For as much as the Sixers did wrong in this game, they buckled down and put the game away in the end with their young stars, which is a small victory.
- Joel Embiid will be playing in a back to back for the first time in his career tomorrow, his domination of the NBA on a full time basis starts then.