The Philadelphia 76ers entered tonight’s game atop the NBA in three-point percentage. The Sixers will likely stay there after going 17-of-41 (41.5 percent) from behind the arc in a 115-103 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. The barrage started early courtesy of Seth Curry, who scorched the nets for six three-pointers and 23 points in the first quarter.
Philadelphia maintained around a double-digit advantage for most of the game. Although Oklahoma City hung tough behind 29 points from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Sixers’ lead always remained at least two possessions. Curry would cool off after his scorching start, but he saved his seventh three for the game’s final minute, a nail in the coffin to extend the lead back to double digits and give him 28 points on the night.
With Andre Drummond out with an ankle injury, rim protection duties fell solely on Joel Embiid’s shoulders. The star big man had a solid all-around offensive performance, tallying 22 points, nine rebounds, and six assists, while adding three blocks, including this one that sent Darius Bazley to the Shadow Realm.
OKC made up for it, but this MONSTER block from Joel cannot be ignored pic.twitter.com/XDXreZinhM— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) October 24, 2021
When Embiid had to briefly head to the locker room in the first quarter to change clothes due to a cut on his leg, we got our first extended look at Georges Niang at center. The Thunder immediately scored a couple buckets on the interior, and that will likely always be a problem, but the offense seemed juiced with Niang-at-the-five minutes tonight. Georges shot 3-of-4 from downtown, and ended the game with 12 points and three assists. Paul Reed also saw his first regular rotation minutes of the season in Drummond’s absence, and showed some good activity, totaling two points, five rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block across nine minutes.
Tonight’s win was a much-needed palate cleanser after the disappointing loss to Brooklyn on Friday. While there won’t be a parade for beating a rebuilding Thunder squad that will find itself toward the bottom of the standings, there’s something to be said for offering fans a low-stress road victory. Philadelphia will be back at it Tuesday night in Madison Square Garden to face the New York Knicks, who dropped to 2-1 with a 110-104 loss tonight against Orlando.