Collective Effort Keys Win
Hello desperation. Goodbye losing streak.
Back at home on the heels of a tough road trip, the 76ers (24-14) fought off the previously-surging Oklahoma City Thunder (20-16), 120-113, to get back on track.
The Sixers hadn't tasted victory since a memorable Christmas Day triumph over the Eastern Conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks. Monday at The Center, there were plenty of participants who assumed key roles in changing the club's fortunes.
Josh Richardson paced the Sixers with 23 points, shooting a steady 9-for-17 from the field and 2-for-4 from 3-point territory. Ben Simmons flirted with his second straight triple-double, registering 17 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists.
Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris each added 18 points apiece, while Al Horford supplied 13.
The Sixers took the floor Monday in South Philadelphia knowing they'd likely need to play with a heightened sense of urgency in order to stop a hot opponent - OKC had won five straight - and halt a season-long four-game slide. That ingredient was precisely the factor that helped the Sixers prevail in the end.
With the score tied at 31-31 after the first quarter, the Sixers made their move late in the second, punctuating the period with a 16-5 spurt.
The Thunder answered with 34 points in the third to trim the gap to four, 90-86, but the Sixers managed to hold their ground.
After OKC pulled within one, 98-97, with seven minutes to go, Mike Scott (8 pts) stepped up to hit a pair of pivotal 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to give the Sixers some modest breathing room. The Thunder, however, refused to go quietly, clawing back to within two, 108-106, with three minutes left.
A critical offensive rebound from Horford moments later led to a running dunk from Harris, which sparked a decisive 7-0 Sixers' spurt. Harris then capped the run with a corner triple that resulted from another clutch offensive board, this time from Embiid, who twice left Monday's game with separate hand injuries.
The big man was also credited with an assist on the play. The dime was Embiid's eighth of the evening, a new season-high.
In the guts of a competitive battle that featured nine ties and seven lead changes, Trey Burke rose to the occasion as well. He netted six of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, and tallied the final five points of the third to keep the Sixers in front.
The Sixers shot 51.1% overall and 13-for-26 from deep in Monday's win. Despite Oklahoma City's 31 free throw attempts, the Sixers kept the Thunder off the line for what essentially mounted for the final eight minutes of regulation.
A hungry, disciplined finish positioned the Sixers to get what they were looking for.
Click here for a complete box score.
Amen, Trey Burke.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) January 7, 2020
The 76ers will host the Boston Celtics (25-8) Thursday to close out a two-game homestand. The contest will mark the C's final stop of the year in South Philadelphia. With a victory, the Sixers could earn a season series victory over their division rival for the first time since the 2013-14 campaign.