Thursday night, the road Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Denver Nuggets 103-89. The Sixers snapped a five-game losing streak, as Joel Embiid once again missed the contest due to health and safety protocols. Embiid was not the lone rotation Sixer out for this one. Matisse Thybulle (health and safety), Danny Green (hamstring) and Ben Simmons (personal reasons) joined him.
The Sixers badly needed a victory, yet few thought one would come, as they faced off against a tough Nuggets team in their home arena. While running mates Jamal Murray (knee) and Michael Porter Jr. (back) were sidelined, reigning MVP Nikola Jokic was good to go, and he torched the Sixers for 27 points on 10-for-12 shooting in the first half.
For the Sixers, head coach Doc Rivers opted to start backup power forward Georges Niang alongside the recent crew of Tyrese Maxey, Seth Curry, Tobias Harris, and Andre Drummond. Niang had a nice game (11 points on 4-for-8 shooting, plus-11) and his start allowed players like Furkan Korkmaz and Shake Milton to resume their more natural duties off the bench, where they both looked more comfortable.
The big story of the night, however, was Charles Bassey. who has been receiving more tick of late, and Rivers has been complimenting the rookie big man on his defensive positioning in the press. It’s clear that the rook has been taking full advantage of whatever sparse practices he’s had at his disposal to show off his skill-set to Sixers’ staffers. His effect on the court was evident right away. He showcased his verticality, quick hands, soft touch and deft footwork in the pick-and-roll. He was truly impressive.
Of course, we love BBall Paul around these parts. But for better or worse, BBall Paul is pure chaos. Bassey seems to really have a handle on what he is and what he isn’t. Rivers seems to really value that type of thing. It paid off Thursday.
Charles Bassey tonight:— Harrison Grimm (@Harrison_Grimm) November 19, 2021
12 points (5/7 FG)
Tremendous stuff. Here’s hoping he keeps it up.
A couple more standouts:
Tyrese Maxey had another really nice night, dropping 22 points on 15 shots, 2-for-3 from deep, five rebounds, four assists and zero turnovers. Chef’s kiss.
Seth Curry got off the schneid, which was great to see after a tough week. He had 20 points on 17 shots and was a plus-13.
Oh, a fun thing: Nuggets head coach Michael (do NOT call him Mike) Malone became incensed at a referee and was ejected from the game after receiving two swift technical fouls. I do not know why he was so mad, but I like to think it was because he heard Bassey was coming back in the game.
Up next for the Sixers is a matchup in Portland against Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night for some more #SixersAfterDark.