Team Caps Homestand With Win Over Nuggets
In a battle of two of the top defensive teams in the NBA, the finish played out fittingly.
The action was physical, and points were at a premium.
But with their backs against the wall, the 76ers didn't fold, fending off the Denver Nuggets, 97-92, at The Center.
The win marked the Sixers' third straight, 11th in their last 13 games, and kept the club unbeaten at home, with a record of 13-0.
The Sixers and Nuggets combined for just 30 fourth-quarter points in Tuesday's tussle, the Sixers nearly going scoreless for the final four minutes of regulation. Despite the drought, the Sixers' D stood strong, coming up with enough stops to steer the team to victory.
Joel Embiid paced the Sixers with 22 points (8-18 fg, 6-7 ft) and 10 rebounds, notching his 15th double-double in 20 appearances. The big man registered a season-high six assists for a second game in a row, and nailed the clinching foul shots with 15.3 seconds to play.
For the fifth time in six outings, Tobias Harris (20 pts, 7 reb, 4 ast) reached the 20-point plateau. He and the Sixers' opening night starting line-up played together for only the 10th time this season, as Josh Richardson (3 pts, 19 min) returned to action from a two-week absence (right hamstring).
After trailing 27-26 at the end of Tuesday's first quarter, the Sixers erupted for a 20-6 run to begin the second frame. On the heels of a career performance Sunday against the Toronto Raptors, Matisse Thybulle was a key part of the blitz.
The rookie threw down a vicious dunk to put the Sixers in front, 28-27, then canned a corner 3-pointer to widen the gap to four. The Sixers went up by as many as 14 points in the first half, before taking a 55-50 edge into the break.
Thybulle, who ended the evening plus-20 in 26 minutes, supplied another timely jam in the third frame during an 8-0 spurt that nudged the Sixers ahead for good. He connected on 5 of 8 field goal attempts, and all but one of his four 3-point tries, en route to a 13-point showing.
Entering Tuesday's clash, the Sixers boasted the third-best defense in the league, while Denver was ranked no. 2. Critical to the Sixers' win were their final margins from deep (+5 3fgm), on the glass (+11 reb), and in transition (+10 pts).
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Got the bucket, got the moves, got a lot.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) December 11, 2019
The 76ers head north to TD Garden for Thursday's nationally-televised primetime pairing with the Boston Celtics, which will be part of the NBA on TNT's weekly double-header. As of Tuesday, the C's (17-5) sat a game ahead of the Sixers for first place in the Atlantic Division, and second place in the Eastern Conference.