Without Joel Embiid, the Philadelphia 76ers looked to be on their way to a low stress win at home against the Indiana Pacers. Then, they blew a double-digit fourth-quarter lead and suddenly found themselves down four with under a minute remaining in regulation. Fortunately, a pair of huge steals from Tyrese Maxey and James Harden allowed the Sixers to tie the game and force overtime, where they ultimately prevailed, 129-126, to move to 23-14 on the season.
Sean Kennedy and David Early of the Talking About Podcast are back on the mic to discuss the overtime win. Some are calling this the Montrezl Harrell game, with the veteran big man scoring a season-high 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field and recording four blocks off the bench. He had a huge sequence in overtime with a putback dunk, followed by a two-handed block off the backboard of Bennedict Mathurin.
Here’s Dave on Harrell’s night:
“I thought Trez, who actually came off the bench tonight, was excellent. His best game as a Sixer by far. His best game up there with any best game a backup center has had, right —thinking of some games Drummond’s had. This was a great game for him.”
Sean and Dave also talk about James Harden assuming more of a scoring role with Embiid sidelined, scoring 26 points to go with eight assists. Though he doesn’t have the prototypical Harden burst like he used to, James still finds ways to be effective across three levels with his change-of-pace moves and stepbacks.
They also dive into Doc Rivers opting to go small to start with P.J. Tucker at center and the three guards, and the outstanding performance across the board from the bench. In addition to Harrell’s big night, Shake Milton shot 5-of-6 for 13 points, Georges Niang went 4-of-5 for 11 points, and Matisse Thybulle scored five points and played great defense, finishing as a game-best plus-14.
“Matisse’s plus-minus has been so positive, so overwhelmingly positive lately, that he’s just screaming for more minutes. It bugged me a little bit that they didn’t put him back in down the stretch because they were beating the doors off of Indiana when he was on the floor. It worked out, so I can’t criticize too much. They did win the game. But I think he’s earned it.”
They finish up the podcast by revisiting the hypothetical of a Ben Simmons-Tyrese Haliburton trade. Haliburton finished with 16 points and 12 assists tonight and looks to be on his way to an All-Star appearance this season for Indiana. If it had been on the table, would doing that deal be a no-brainer versus trading for Harden?
Covering those topics and more, listen to the Talking About Podcast in full below:
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