By Dylan MacKinnon
In terms of the individual matchup, Embiid outplayed Jokic. But it was the Nuggets who got the win. Embiid tallied 34pts to Jokic’s 22. Embiid dominant performance was not enough though. Thanks in large part to a poor performance by the Sixers bench, the Nuggets left Philadelphia with a win.
The Sixers benched scored just 14 pts, on 4 of 24 shooting. Compare that to the Nuggets, whose bench scored 48 on 18 of 33 shooting. Georges Niang shot 2-10 from 3, including his final attempt that had a chance to tie,, but instead missed badly. Danny Green failed to score, shooting 0-5 from the field in his first game back from a finger injury.
It was for once not a slow start. the Sixers came out the gates shooting, scoring 37 in the first quarter, and holding the Nuggets to just 22. Embiid got 12 of his own. Thybulle delivered a big quarter, scoring 9 with 4 steals and a block. As a team, they shot 14-23 in the first quarter. In the last two games, they were held under 30% from the field in the first quarter, so it was a nice change of pace to see them come out hot. After one they led 37-22
Unfortunately, it didn’t last. Both teams were cold to start the second quarter, but the Sixers especially. They made just 6 FGs in the second quarter. They managed to get out to a 19pt lead at one point. But Some debatable calls got Embiid in foul trouble, and the Nuggets closed on a 12-1 run. By the end of the half, the 19pt lead was shrunk to 5 pts. Sixers led 58-53.
And the 3rd quarter started out the Nuggets way as well. It only took them 3 minutes to turn that 5 point deficit into a 2pt lead. But it didn’t take long for the Sixers to get out of that funk. Sixers went on a 9-0 run, with 6 pts by Embiid, to get back to a 6pt lead. Embiid would go on to score 13 total in the quarter. That helped the Sixers end the 3rd with a 88-81 lead. After 3 Embiid had 19 pts to Jokic’s 19. The moment of the quarter though came with this Maxey dunk, as called by Tom McGinnis.
The 4th quarter started out mostly Nuggets. First Demarcus Cousins hit back to back 3’s,a nd then shortly later Bones Hyland hit 3 straight 3’s. The Nuggets turned a 8pt deficit in to a 6pt lead within 6 minutes. Sixers tried to battle back, with a scoring surge from Harden and Embiid, but it was not enough. Sixers ended up losing by 4, despite the fact Embiid outplayed Jokic.
The Sixers fall to 41-26, and are now in the 3 seed half a game behind the Bucks, and 3 games back from the Heat. They have a day off, before heading to Cleveland on Wednesday night. It will be the third time they face the Cavs. They are 2-0 so far on the season vs them.