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Sixers defeat the Pelicans 111-110, in a game that was anything but easy

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The Sixers weren’t feeling the effects of a night on Bourbon Street (ok maybe a little), and managed to hand the New Orleans Pelicans their 35th loss of the season. 

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at New Orleans Pelicans Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

I feel bad for fans of New Orleans basketball. Anthony Davis was supposed to be their guy. Now he doesn’t want to be their guy. So they express their displeasure. They boo him when he touches the ball, but, as fans of the Pelicans, they also feel semi-obligated to cheer for him when he scores. What a confusing roller coaster of fan obligation. All that being said, I don’t feel that bad because all that turmoil could only help the Sixers (and they needed all the help they could get tonight), as they topped the Pelicans by a score of 111-110.

After what felt like 45 minutes of leading by 13 points, the Sixers let the Pelicans back into the game and let them make it interesting. With 2:38 left in the 4th quarter, the Sixers held a comfortable eight-point lead. Then, there was a Frank Jackson dunk, follwed by a Jrue Holiday 3-pointer. All of a sudden, with 1:36 left in a game that should have been put away long ago, the Sixers found themselves in a one-possession game. Tobias Harris and Holiday traded free throws (both going 1-for-2), and Julius Randle was left to make a layup making it a one-point game. Inexplicably, Brett Brown substituted Jonathon Simmons for JJ Redick. Simmons was fouled, and he proceeded to miss both of his free throws. Lucky for the Sixers, E’Twaun Moore’s potential game-winning 3-point shot was tipped by Jimmy Butler, Harris was able to secure the rebound and the Sixers won.

Tobias Harris led the game in scoring tonight with 29 points. He is becoming visibly more comfortable in the offense, and is shooting efficiently. Tonight, his points come on 10-for-16 shooting from the field and 2-for-8 shooting from 3. Harris’s BFF Boban Marjanovic redeemed himself after a less than stellar performance on Saturday. After unexpectedly not starting in favor of Jonah Bolden, Bobi finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds in 20 minutes of play. Unfortunately, he suffered a knee injury late in the 4th quarter after Cheick Diallo fell awkwardly into the back of his right knee.

After finding himself out of the rotation recently, Bolden played well as the starting center. He found himself with seven points and five rebounds in the first seven minutes of the game, before getting himself into foul trouble. He picked up his second personal foul with 4:56 left in the first quarter, and notched his fourth before the first half was over. Ultimately, he finished the game with nine points, six rebounds and two blocks in 18 minutes of play.

The Pelicans were led in scoring by Jrue Holiday, who had 22 points on 7-for-16 shooting from the field. Anthony Davis played 20 minutes in tonight’s contest and scored 18 points. Additionally, he added six rebounds and three blocks to his stat line.

The Sixers take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday in Oklahoma. Joel Embiid will be reevaluated before then, and may be available for the game. I’m hoping for Russ vs. Jo: Round 2, so let’s hope that he’s good to go.

Other Notes:

Just a few minutes into the game, Ben Simmons did something that few expected - he took a 3-point shot. It didn’t go in. We’ve all seen the videos of him draining 3s in warm-up, so expect one of them to fall at some point.

Speaking of Simmons, he continued to play aggressively in the absence of Embiid. He finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

JJ Redick was determined to get out of the shooting slump that plagued him in Saturday’s game and at the beginning of tonight’s matchup. After missing his first three shots tonight, Redick’s shot began to fall. He finished with 16 points and was 3-for-9 from beyond the arc.

Luckily, we were not subjected to “the Jahlil Okafor” game. The former Sixer finished with six points in 17 minutes of play.