The final game of the 5 game road trip to the west coast ended in a 132-127 win for the 76ers. The Sixers had bench players Furkan Korkmaz and Jonah Bolden get the start. Usual starters Jimmy Butler and Wilson Chandler were out due to upper respiratory problems after defeating the Clippers last night in Los Angeles.
The Sixers and Suns matchup began with Simmons having a great start by banking in 13 points in the first 10 minutes of the game which is three less then what he usually contributes a game. JJ Redick drilled 3-3 from three to give the Sixers a 12 point lead going into the 2nd quarter. Bolden struggled early by committing three fouls in the first four minutes of the game.
In the second quarter, the Sixers went on a 10-2 run in the first two minutes of the second quarter. Sadly, Suns young star Devin Booker, at one point had half the teams points. Booker averages 37 points against the Sixers this season. The Suns did not do well shooting on the floor with the 3/23 field goal shooting they threw up. The offense did a great job pushing the ball and forcing the defense to send the Sixers on the line 32 times; Embiid himself made 14 of his 30 points with Simmons getting 8 of his 13 points on the line as well.
The second half began as the defense’s plan is to shut down Booker and not give up the lead which they incline to do. Well, that goal aged well for little until the Sixers defense started to become lackadaisical and let the Suns drop the lead to 16 by the beginning of the 4th quarter. The Suns had an 11-2 run with 5:32 left to go.
Offensively, the shooting all around was great while shooting 54.1% on the floor, 75.9% on the line and 45.8% from the 3 with the help from JJ Reddick’s 5-8 3 point shooting.
Joel Embiid finished the game with a season-high of 42 points, 18 rebounds, and 3 steals. He leads the league in 40 & 10 games (4). Simmons also had a great night while having a season-high 29 points and 6 assists. Embiid, Simmons, and Reddick all combined for 98 of the 132 points in the game.
Former Sixer Richaun Holmes added a crucial 11 points and 6 rebounds in the game when the Suns made their comeback in the second half. Booker ended up with another excellent performance against the Sixers with 37 points and 8 assists.
Despite the win, Sixer’s are still having a hard time closing out games and blow huge leads even if we are missing two of our starters. It’s inexcusable for the 9-30 team to keep the game close with the 76ers; especially being up 30 at one point. If the Sixers want to be a serious playoff contender, they have to win these games to win by 20, not 5. Yes, Butler and Chandler didn’t play tonight, great teams still have to do a great job to hold leads.
After ending the west coast road trip with 3-2, the Sixers go back to Wells Fargo Center to play Luca Doncic and the Mavericks this Saturday at 7:30pm.