After leading by 17 points, the Philadelphia 76ers were down a point to the Los Angeles Clippers in the final quarter. They were able to come out and pull out a win.
Marcus Morris missed a potential game-tying three-pointer on Los Angeles’ final possession.
Joel Embiid led the Sixers with 36 points and 14 rebounds. Ben Simmons had 12 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two blocks, and two steals. Furkan Korkmaz was the Sixers’ second leading scorer with 18 points on six-for-15 shooting.
The Clippers’ Paul George posted 37 points, nine rebounds, and six assists.
Here are three takeaways:
Los Angeles doubled Embiid whenever it could, but nothing stopped him.
On the game’s first Embiid post-up, there was an aggressive Clippers double team. The Sixers have an effective counter for that scheme, though. They immediately used Embiid in “delay” actions, having him conduct the offense from the top of the key. That approach tends to encourage good team spacing, allowing Embiid to both see the floor well and attack his man in one-on-one situations. He scored eight quick points and the Sixers jumped the Clippers, getting a 20-3 lead.
The Clippers recognized that Embiid passing to an open man near him was likely to be less harmful than a chance against single coverage.
Just like the Nets on Wednesday night, they also tried fronting the post. Doing so prevented the Sixers from getting Embiid a touch on a few plays, though it didn’t completely do the Sixers dirty in the same way it had against Brooklyn. They seemed to have a more clear understanding of how to respond, looking for high-lows with Simmons and Embiid or searching for the correct wing angle to make an entry pass.
Big stops gotten when needed
The Sixers’ two most eye-catching defensive plays of the night occurred in the same spot.
Matisse Thybulle made a swift closeout in the second quarter to block a Luke Kennard three-point attempt from the right corner.
Simmons swatted a Patrick Patterson jump shot later in the quarter and raised his arms to get the crowd on their feet.
Danny Green began the game on George, which enabled Simmons to pressure point guard Reggie Jackson and also play a wondering role.
The Sixers started very well as a team defensively, but couldn’t sustain their high level of execution.
While the Sixers’ transition defense was better than usual, the Clippers had success driving out to three-point shooters, breaking down the Sixers, and creating uncomfortable scrambling situations once they managed to penetrate into the paint.
Los Angeles got rid of the Sixers’ lead on a Patterson corner three with 11:24 remaining in the game.
Simmons defended George in the final minutes and, as they often have this season, the Sixers played super clutch defense. A Jackson three pointer with 21.2 seconds left sliced their lead to one.
Green, who recorded four steals and two blocks, converted two free throws on the ensuing possession despite a lot of gamesmanship from the Clippers’ sideline delaying his second attempt.
Sixers different frontcourt
Harris and Howard’s absences forced several changes to the Sixers’ typical frontcourt rotations. Mike Scott started for Harris, while Paul Reed played as a backup center late in the first quarter. Reed made a turnover attempting to make a handoff on the wing and ended up playing only two minutes.
Anthony Tolliver checked in for his Sixers debut to start the second quarter. Tolliver was solid overall without doing anything startlingly positive. He didn’t stand out in his first stint other than a play where he needed to guard George in transition and fouled him at the rim.
After Scott picked up his fourth foul, Tolliver entered early in the third quarter. He blocked George with 29.8 seconds left in the period, rotating over to make sure he didn’t have an easy layup and leaping with good verticality to contest him at the rim.
Tolliver missed both of his field-goal attempts, going scoreless in 14 minutes.
Tyrese Maxey was another Sixer who played more than he normally would. He had some nice moments, sinking a long pull-up three in the second quarter and scoring nine points in 16 minutes.
The 39-17 Sixers’ next game is Monday night vs. the 28-28 Golden State Warriors.