The Philadelphia 76ers were looking to continue their winning ways on this road trip as they invaded the Pacific Northwest on Thursday night. The Portland Trail Blazers represented the fourth game of this five-game West Coast road trip and the Sixers were looking to build off a 3-0 start.
The Blazers offered up their own challenges, but Philadelphia was locked in defensively as they held Portland to just 37.6% shooting on the night on their way to a 105-95 victory. The Sixers led by as many as 26 and they received 32 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks from Joel Embiid to lead the way.
James Harden added 16 points, 14 assists, and 10 rebounds, Tyrese Maxey had 15 off the bench, and Tobias Harris added 11 and seven boards. Shake Milton added 10 and Georges Niang had nine off the bench to chip in.
Here are the player grades following another win on this road trip:
The Beard started his night by getting his teammates involved. He had six assists in the opening frame being able to orchestrate the offense rather efficiently. It is becoming more clear that he is understanding his role di lui with this team and he’s able to make a difference with his passing as well as his scoring di lui. He was terrific as a distribute and with his rebounding of him. The Sixers will certainly need more scoring from him, but on nights like this when everybody is contributing, they can get away with not getting much from him.
The man they call Mr. Do Something had to draw the extremely tough challenge of defending Damian Lillard. The lead man for Portland has the capability to go off at any moment and throw the Blazers on his back in the blink of an eye. Instead, he had a tough night as Melton bothered him and he couldn’t get into any type of rhythm. He also knocked down a triple in order to contribute on the offensive end although he didn’t shoot the ball well overall. Melton did pick up some cheap fouls late on Lillard which was key in Portland’s comeback attempt, but he still had a nice night.
Tobias Harris A
With Melton on Lillard and the Sixers hiding Harden on Josh Hart, Harris had to defend Anfernee Simons who is no walk in the park to defend. The veteran out of Tennessee continues to take steps forward on the defensive end as he bothered Simons into some tough shots and forced him into misses. On the offensive end, the Sixers were able to get Harris to knock down his corner triples while also having him make quick decisions with his driving.
PJ Tucker: B-
The veteran was able to make an impact in the hustle plays. He created a few extra possessions for Philadelphia when they needed it and he did a really good job of defending Jerami Grant who has become a consistent offensive player. Per usual, Tucker shouldn’t be judged on a box score. He should be judged by the little things he does to help the Sixers win games. He did pick up an unnecessary technical foul in the third quarter for arguing with the officials on a call.
Joel Embiid: A+
Once again, the big fella sets the tone for the Sixers on both ends of the floor. It was blatantly obvious that Jusuf Nurkic could not defend Embiid and Philadelphia kept feeding him the ball in the mismatch. There was also an impressive bucket when he went coast to coast for a layup as he did something that 7-footers just shouldn’t be able to do. The only “criticism” of him in this one was it seemed like he was out of place a few times on the pick-and-roll with Harden. It seemed like Harden wanted Embiid deeper off the roll, but the big fella was able to still score off the mid-range game. Even while playing with five fouls in the fourth, he was terrific in protecting the rim.
Philadelphia received instant offense in the first quarter from Maxey who poured in six quick points in the blink of an eye. He took every Blazers defender off the dribble and was constantly getting into the paint. The 3-point shot wasn’t there for him in this one, but if the Sixers are going to get this type of production from him off the bench consistently, then they will be in pretty good shape.
The run for Niang was a good one. He knocked down a triple, which is what he gets paid for, and he didn’t hurt the team defensively. He then knocked down two huge ones in the fourth quarter as this was a successful night for him off the bench.
Shake Milton: A-
It’s the same defensive issues for Milton. He just seems to lack awareness at times on that end of the floor which can be maddening, but his role is to score the ball for the second unit and he was able to do so. He had two big buckets in the third quarter and another one in the fourth to squash a Portland run. Overall, Milton was able to contribute and he had a nice night.
Montrezl Harrell: B-
This was a very good start for Harrell. He had some really nice moments on the offensive end. He also was productive on defense and on the glass as he brought a ton of energy. However, he just isn’t the rim protector Embiid is and the Blazers took advantage of it when they made their run in the third quarter to get back into it.
Matisse Thybulle: B+
It was a terrific defensive start for Thybulle. He had a steal at halfcourt which led to an easy dunk the other way and he disrupted anything Portland was trying to run. He broke up lobs and he was active on the defensive end all night. The only blemishes were in the third when he missed an easy layup that Harden set him up for and he also had a few bad fouls against Lillard defensively.