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Sixers start post-Ben Simmons era off with win over Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

As the Sixers await the arrival of James Harden, they took down the Oklahoma City Thunder, 100-87, at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night.

The Sixers had an ugly night on offense but did enough to fight off a late comeback by the Thunder.

Joel Embiid extended his 25-plus point streak to 22 games, putting up 25 points and 19 rebounds, but shot just 8-of-25 from the field. Tyrese Maxey looked excellent, going for 24 points on 74.07 TS%.

Here are some observations from the Sixers’ win over the Thunder.

First Half

  • An unremarkable first quarter. The Sixers shot poorly out of the gates and looked like their minds were elsewhere. Still, Joel Embiid and the Sixers managed to draw seven OKC fouls in the first eight minutes of action. My goodness, what is this going to look like when James Harden gets here?
  • Paul Reed was the first big off the bench, and Tyrese Maxey was staggered with Embiid’s minutes. How Doc Rivers manages the new rotation will be an interesting development for the rest of the regular season.
  • With the exception of Tyrese Maxey, the Sixers’ offense continued to look downright bad in the second quarter. They shot just 33 percent from the field and just 1-of-8 from three. A quick 8-0 surge from the starters ensured that they would at least go into halftime with the lead.
  • BBall Paul, man. It was going so well for Reed, he was hustling on both ends, giving the Sixers some much needed juice. And then... and then,
  • Reed was able to contribute his trademark scrappiness in his minutes, pulling down three offensive boards, as well as two blocks and two steals, but with the backup center rotation spot up in the air, maybe now wasn’t the time to get fancy.

Second Half

  • The Sixers were able to maintain the momentum through halftime. Matisse Thybulle started the third quarter with two quick steals that led to a dunk and a Tyrese Maxey three. Philly pushed the lead to double digits quickly.
  • The Sixers outscored OKC, 31-20, in the third quarter. Embiid had an 11-point quarter as his inside jumpers started to fall. As a team, Philly shot 50 percent from the field in the third quarter, and took a 16-point lead into the fourth.
  • The Sixers’ lead grew to 19, but of course, the Thunder cut it to single digits, because this is the Philadelphia 76ers after all. Tyrese Maxey was able to put the game away for Philly with a couple baskets down the stretch, avoiding an embarrassing loss.

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