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Sixers blow huge lead in one-point loss to Clippers

Los Angeles Clippers v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Sixers took on the Los Angeles Clippers sans Paul George and Kawhi Leonard at the Wells Fargo Center Friday night. The Sixers also found themselves down another starter, as Seth Curry sat with lingering left ankle soreness.

Joel Embiid dominated this game with 40 points and 13 rebounds, but the Sixers still absolutely fell apart.

Here are my thoughts and observations from the Sixers 102-101 loss to the Clippers.

First Half

- I’m not surprised to see the offense get off to a slower start without Curry, as his two-man game with Embiid has been the Sixers’ bread and butter this season. It was nice to see Isaiah Joe continue to launch with confidence, but the first quarter offense was ugly. The team shot 7-of-23 and looked flat out dull.

-The Sixers’ wing defense is understandably lacking without Thybulle and Danny Green (and Ben Simmons), but Nic Batum having a perfect first quarter is still a tough hang. The Clippers shot 55 percent in the first quarter, and led by seven after the first quarter.

-The bench unit gave solid minutes to start the second quarter. Andre Drummond gave the Sixers a much-needed rebounding presence and tried to get Maxey and Korkmaz going with the pick-and-roll.

-Joel Embiid did a little bit of everything in his second quarter shift, as he’s wont to do. He made the Clippers pay in the mid range, from three, and in transition. It is truly wild how much he has improved his game this season, given that he finished second in MVP voting last season. The big fella entered halftime with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, along with five boards and three assists. He absolutely dominated the quarter, a quarter in which the Sixers outscored the Clippers 37-16.

-Tyrese Maxey was another big reason the Sixers entered halftime with a 14-point lead. His offensive flurry was the perfect end to the second quarter. Maxey put up 14 first-half points, shot 50 percent from the field, including 2-of-2 from beyond the arc. It looks like the kid can shoot.

Second half

-The third quarter for the Sixers was once again all Embiid. He scored or assisted 16 of the 21 points Philly scored in the quarter with Embiid on the floor, and Philly’s lead reached as much as 24. The Sixers however were very stagnant in the frame when Embiid wasn’t doing something, the Clippers were able to shave the lead down to 10.

-Why does Doc Rivers wait until the last 40 seconds of the quarter to unleash Maxey? Maxey’s two quick drives to the basket at the end of the frame sparked some life back into the Sixers. It feels like a common occurrence this season that Maxey has been a ghost for the first 11 minutes of a quarter.

-Despite a solid first half, Andre Drummond really struggled in his fourth quarter minutes. He was a little overambitious with his passing and shot selection. The Clippers took advantage.

-After standing in the corner for the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, Maxey ran an action with Embiid and immediately got a wide open three, that wasn’t so hard!

-My goodness, that eurostep.

-The Sixers’ perimeter defense is very thin right now, and that hurt them in the 4th. The Clippers found their stroke from beyond the arc after struggling for most of the game, going 6-of-11 in the final frame.

-They should have put this game away long before they got to this situation, but a guy getting paid $180 million dollars needs to make both free throws.

-The Sixers crunch time offense still looks like a chicken running around without its head. The teams need for another playmaker is frustrating given the payroll.

-There is no other team as good at losing in heartbreaking fashion than the Sixers. Tyrese Maxey’s attempt at a floater getting stuck between the rim is, I’m sorry, objectively hilarious. Still, shameful to waste a 40-point, 13-rebound game from Joel Embiid.