The Sixers returned to Philadelphia from their trip to Canada with a pretty sour taste in their mouths. Winning by 6 points with a few minutes left against the Toronto Raptors in a game Joel Embiid was held scoreless for the first time in his career, they wilted down the stretch and Toronto escaped in a close one. There are few better ways to forget about that type of thing than to go back home and host the Sacramento Kings. And the Sixers were able to grind out a win. But it was probably a lot uglier than Coach Brett Brown would have liked.
The Sixers average 109.4 points per game (16th in the league) but they were held to 97 points tonight. The Kings aren’t exactly a stifling unit, as they’re the 21st ranked defense in the league per NBA.com. But tonight they were able to hold the Sixers to just 19.2 percent from three and they “forced” 17 turnovers. At times it was even uglier than it sounds in writing and Rich Hofmann of The Athletic noted some frustration among the players:
Raul Neto barely beat the halftime buzzer to give the Sixers a 47-46 lead. After a great start with excellent ball movement (and a bunch of missed 3s), committed eight turnovers in the second quarter. Some frustration looked like it set in at times with Simmons and Embiid.— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) November 28, 2019
But after a few boos from the crowd Brett Brown turned to Matisse Thybulle for a spark. The rookie out of Washington gave the team just the lift they’d hoped he could provide when they drafted him:
THAT'S OUR BOY.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) November 28, 2019
Thybulle jammin on em! pic.twitter.com/8p1QmjUXs2
Coming in off the bench in the third quarter, he was wildly disruptive, and did a fantastic job on Kings’ star Buddy Hield. Thybulle generated 4 steals and two blocks, hit all three of his deep-ball attempts, and finished with 15 points. He got out on the break and dunked and he stayed active as a cutter. He helped the Sixers out to a ten point lead and picked up a few teammates who weren’t able to deliver this evening. The energy just changed with his play and it carried over to others.
One of those who could not help was Josh Richardson, who was ruled out for the game following the half with right hamstring soreness. Let’s hope it’s nothing serious because he has been playing his best ball of the season recently.
Another was Mike Scott who was 0-7 from three. And Tobias Harris struggled as well shooting just 5-15 from the field and 0-4 from downtown. Harris looked out of sorts down the stretch missing wide open looks and turning the ball over.
Joel Embiid rebounded nicely from the worst game he’s ever played. Literally. He had 16 boards and shot 10-19 from the field for a game high 33 points and two blocks. Because of all the team bricks he only had one assist but that’s not indicative of how many nice passes the big fella made tonight. The best may have been a bullet to a cutting Thybulle who blew a monster jam.
Ben Simmons’ triple double counts are down this season and that’s largely because of Al Horford. Both players tend to stuff the stat sheet which they both did this evening, despite having relatively quiet nights. Simmons had ten points, 14 rebounds and five assists. Horford had 12 points, 7 rebounds and five assists.
Despite the shooting woes and the turnovers, the Sixers defense was stellar and held the Kings to just 91 points. That’s not enough to win an NBA game in the year 2019. Credit Thybulle with helping turn on the team’s jets on that end.
Next up the Sixers travel to visit the Knicks where they’ll look to make it two in a row.
So for now, happy Thanksgiving everyone. Take this piece of great advice from one of our Editors, Sean Kennedy:
Here's a suggestion for something to be thankful for tomorrow: pic.twitter.com/isKXkkL6CY— Liberty Ballers (@Liberty_Ballers) November 28, 2019