PHILADELPHIA–The Philadelphia 76ers were looking to sweep this quick two-game homestand as well as the season series with the Oklahoma City Thunder before they head out on the road for five games. The Thunder are a rebuilding team still trying to find their way, but they do scrap out on the floor.
Oklahoma City built a 19-point lead as the Sixers faced adversity after two very easy wins over the Detroit Pistons. Led by James Harden, Philadelphia was able to rally and take a lead in the third quarter, but it was brief as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was able to rally the Thunder past the Sixers 133-114. Gilgeous-Alexander had 37 points, eight rebounds, and six assists.
Harden had 24 points, six rebounds, and 15 assists. Joel Embiid added 30 points and 10 rebounds, Tyrese Maxey added 17 points and six, and Tobias Harris had 13. De’Anthony Melton hopped off the bench and had eight points while Georges Niang added 10 points.
Here are the player grades following the loss at home:
The Beard started his night off with a nice balance. He was able to get to the free-throw line, he was knocking down triples, and he did an excellent job of getting his teammates involved. The shots he was making in this one were of a high degree of difficulty as he continues to get healthier by the game. He was in control of this one directing his teammates where to go and when it was time to score, he was able to come through on that end of the floor.
This was a tough defensive matchup for Maxey. He was matched up with Gilgeous-Alexander and there isn’t much Maxey can do other than battle. Which, of course, he did so admirably, but there is n’t much he can do against a player of his caliber and his size. He was better on the offensive end as he was able to get to the basket and have success finishing over taller defenders. It was n’t an efficient night in terms of his shot, but he was able to get to the line.
The reliable veteran hit two of his first three shots before suffering an apparent knee injury in the second quarter. He drove into the paint and appeared to bang knees with an OKC defender. He was on the ground for a bit before limping off into the locker room. He came back rather quickly as he was able to shake it off and get back on the floor. Overall, he was able to knock down some triples, but it appeared the knee issue hampered him a bit on the defensive end and on the glass.
PJ Tucker D
This is a tough matchup for Tucker due to the speed and athleticism with which the Thunder play with. He was matched up with Jalen Williams often and the OKC rookie was able to maneuver past him for some easy looks at the rim. He missed his one corner triple and wasn’t all that helpful on the glass either.
The big fella came out with force to start this one as he went after Thunder rookie Jaylin Williams on the offensive end. Embiid was going to work with some elite footwork and Oklahoma City had a tough time figuring out how to stop him. Foul trouble hampered him a bit as he had three in the first half and it appeared to limit his aggressiveness a bit after halftime. He was settling for jumpers from the mid-range and was taking turnaround jumpers in the post. He still was able to put his fingerprints on this one and he had one helluva block on Gilgeous-Alexander. He did have a critical turnover late and was then called for a foul that essentially put the game away for the Thunder.
De’Anthony Melton: B+
With the team needing a spark early, coach Doc Rivers turned to Melton as the Thunder were getting whatever they wanted from the perimeter on their offensive end. The Sixers needed help on the defensive end so Melton entered and helped Philadelphia in that department. He also was able to knock down a couple of 3-pointers on the offensive end.
Georges Niang: B-
The Minivan gave a boost of energy to the roster on the floor and he also drilled a triple to end the first quarter. The Sixers got off to a slow start in this one and the bench unit deserves credit for providing a spark. Niang was then able to make some big shots in the fourth quarter in order to keep Philadelphia in it, but he did have a tough night defensively.
Shake Milton: C+
It was a good start for Milton as his initial run involved him immediately attacking the rim on the offensive end. He didn’t shoot the ball well in this one, but the important thing is, he was aggressive. That’s what the bench unit needs out there on the floor.
Matisse Thybulle: C-
The defensive stud out of Washington did what he does. He entered the game and he immediately came up with a steal in the passing lanes and he was a pest on that end during his run out on the floor. He didn’t get much of a look on the offensive end though. With that being said, he couldn’t make much of a difference against SGA for Oklahoma City.
Montrezl Harrell: C-
Harrell was on the wrong end of a few questionable calls in his initial run on the floor as he was trying to establish himself on the offensive end. A few of those calls looked like they could’ve gone either way, but the fact is they went against the veteran. To his credit, he fought through them and contributed for the Sixers.
It was interesting to see the Sixers turn to Reed in the first half. After Embiid re-entered for Harrell at the 7:26 mark of the second quarter, he picked up his third foul 26 seconds later. Instead of going back to Harrell, in came Reed for the big fella. There were some up and down moments for Reed as he continues to try and figure things out, but he was productive out on the floor. However, he was called for some fouls in the second half that hindered Philadelphia’s comeback efforts.