Quotebook | A Weekend Well Spent

by Lauren Rosen

It was quite a weekend for the 76ers (17-7), which notched two wins in two days while continuing to defend their undefeated home court.

With different players rising to the occasion on each night, there was no shortage of things to discuss.

Here’s some of what was said:

The Sixers arrived ready for a fight as they hosted Toronto Sunday in South Philadelphia for the first time since last season’s Eastern Conference Semifinal duel. 

It was Matisse Thybulle’s turn to have a career night in the team’s 110-104 win over the defending champs, finishing with 20 points, two rebounds, three assists, three steals, and a block in 32 minutes. Following the win, Thybulle reflected on his earned place among a team of All-Stars:

“That’s something that I really find myself thinking about a lot. Even just six months ago, if you had told me I’d be in the position I’m in today, it would’ve been really hard for me to believe you. I think I’m incredibly blessed, I’m so grateful. To have the guys that we have on this team, and to have the opportunity that I have, has been nothing short of a blessing.”

The Sixers would head to halftime with a 57-42 advantage, thanks largely to Tobias Harris’ 18 first-half points. 

Harris, who finished with a team-high 26 points, six rebounds, three assists, and a block, credited that early success to protecting the ball:

“It was for sure our defense, and our ability to take care of the basketball. In the first half, we only had five turnovers. I thought in the beginning of the game, first half, we played a great first half of protecting the basketball, playing some really good defense, and getting out running. That was a tribute to being able to secure the ball, make the right plays, and not turn it over.”

Brown gave Harris credit for finding his rhythm and growing as a leading scoring option:

“I think that in general, he is in a good place offensively. I think that the structure in his world is appropriate, I think he’s learning how to use it. We’re playing well around him, off him. He’s having a really good mindset lately to score.”

The victory over Toronto came less than 24 hours after the team’s commanding 141-94 victory over Cleveland. 

Ben Simmons exploded for a career-high 34 points against the Cavs, adding three rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and two blocks. For Simmons, his mindset was simple:

“I was locked in every time I was on the floor, regardless of how many minutes I played.”

Simmons recorded the entirety of his record-breaking stat line in just 26 minutes. With the game put away by the beginning of the fourth quarter, the starters had a chance to rest, which would prove to be key the following day:

“That was huge. Making sure everybody’s locked in throughout the game, regardless of if someone’s playing 20 to 10 minutes."

Even though Joel Embiid didn't play Saturday, he was thrilled for his teammate. The big man called the outing the best of Simmons' career:

“It’s great for [Ben]. It’s great for his mindset. It’s great to see him play like that. That’s the best I’ve seen him play. I told him today, I needed the same energy, I needed him to play the same way, and I felt like he did.”

In respect to Embiid and Simmons, Brett Brown discussed the importance of the duo making the most of its shared space when on the floor together:

“I think that for Ben, for me, especially now with Joel back, it’s about spacing. How does he space, and prepare himself to do what we saw last night? Or take that space, and chew it up as a 6-foot-10, breakneck speed athlete playing downhill? It starts with space.”

Making his first start of the season Saturday, Mike Scott rose to the occasion, finishing with a season-high 21 points, along with six rebounds and two assists. 

“I work on my game every day. I just stay with it, continue to get my shots, work on my touch, and sooner or later it’s going to drop… You’ve just got to go out there and dominate like we did tonight. Take care of business, and get ready for [Toronto].”

Trey Burke was the third Sixer to set a personal scoring mark on Saturday, also finishing with a season-high 21 points, along with eight assists and four steals.

“It felt good, it felt great. In this league, you’ve got to stay even keeled - can’t get too high, can’t get too low. You never know when your number is going to be called, so you’ve got to stay ready. And I think that’s what I did.”

A productive weekend, from top to bottom. Next up: Denver, as the team hosts the Nuggets Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. ET.

 

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