The Philadelphia 76ers were competitive despite some injuries but fell to the Phoenix Suns, 116-113, dropping to 39-19 on the season.
Joel Embiid had 38 points, 17 rebounds, and four assists in the loss. A full-court Embiid hail-marry at the buzzer would’ve sent the game to overtime nearly went in.
Here’s three takeaways:
Embiid scored nine of the Sixers’ first 15 points, it helping them take a quick double-digit lead for the third straight game.
Almost everything positive that the Sixers did offensively in the first half centered around Embiid, which wasn’t surprising given the circumstances. He grabbed eight offensive rebounds.
On a negative note, Embiid was sometimes sloppy with the ball, turning it over eight times. Two of those were within a 20-second stretch in the third period when he tossed the ball out of bounds, then was loose when he dribbled it up the floor on the Sixers’ next possession.
Thybulle stellar on Booker
Devin Booker entered Wednesday’s game averaging nearly 30 points per game in his career against the Sixers. He only managed 19, shooting six-for-14 from the floor and dishing out seven assists.
Thybulle was scoreless in his 36 minutes, but he was very helpful to have against Booker with Simmons out. Though Thybulle fouled Booker on two jumpers, Thybulle also had plenty of excellent possessions. He had three crowd-pleasing blocks and two steals but was good even when he wasn’t creating chaos.
Update on injuries
Ben Simmons (illness) and Tobias Harris (right knee soreness), Seth Curry (left hip flexor recovery) was out against the Suns. Furkan Korkmaz exited in the third quarter with an apparent right ankle injury but returned in the fourth.
Head coach Doc Rivers was asked pregame whether the Sixers had an incentive to be as ready as possible for the Bucks mini-series.
“I would like to win so wherever you can get that win, you want to take the win,” he said. “I’m not saying we would win if we played everybody tonight or tomorrow. I guess the incentive, when you look at the Milwaukee situation, is if you win tomorrow you have a chance to play for the season series. But if guys are not healthy, there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Another health-related note is that Rivers said a “high percentage” of the Sixers have been vaccinated against COVID-19, though he knew of “two or three guys” that had not been.
The 39-19 Sixers will travel to Milwaukee to face the 35-22 Bucks for games Thursday night and Saturday afternoon.