Posted on February 28, 2019, by Travis Pulver
When you are playing a good team like the Oklahoma City Thunder, it helps to have all hands on deck. However, that was not possible for the Philadelphia 76ers Thursday night. Center Joel Embiid needed another night off, his fourth in a row, due to soreness in his left knee.
That meant the 76ers would need someone to step up if they were going to get the win Thursday night in Oklahoma City—which is precisely what happened.
Tobias Harris caught fire hitting 11 of 19 shots from the floor (5-7 from three-point range) and Ben Simmons recorded a triple double (11 points, 11 assists, and 13 rebounds) to lead the 76ers to a 108-104 win over the Thunder.
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Philadelphia took charge early in the game and got out to a 37-26 lead after the first. Their dominance continued in the second as the 76ers extended the lead to 16 early in the quarter before settling for an 11-point advantage at the half.
However, the Thunder managed to battle back in the third and get within two points late in the quarter. But the 76ers were able to push the lead back out to seven, 86-79, before the end of the period. Oklahoma City continued to press in the fourth.
They kept it close but were unable to pull ahead. The Thunder did manage to tie the game up at 93-93 with 4:40 to play only to see Tobias Harris answer with one of five three-pointers to put the team back ahead.
A pair of Russell Westbrook free throws got the Thunder within two, 106-104, with 28.5 seconds left. But the Thunder wouldn’t get off another shot. JJ Redick added a pair of free throws to finish the scoring and make the final score 108-104.
“There were a couple plays there in the fourth quarter where we could have made the simple play and we would have been fine with,” Harris said after the game (NBC Sports). “But I think as a `we’ team, we’re just trying to feel each other out and make extra passes. Sometimes tonight, I felt we should have went for the easier play. It’s not bad, though.”
Westbrook led the way for the Thunder with his 25th triple-double of the season, 23 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds. Jerami Grant also had 23 on the night. Paul George sat out the game due to soreness in his right shoulder.
The loss is Oklahoma City’s third in a row and dropped the Thunder’s record to 38-23 on the season. They are now in a tie for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference with the Portland Trail Blazers. Houston remains hot on their heels, a game and a half back.
They will have a challenge on their hands Saturday night when they travel to San Antonio to take on the Spurs.
With the win, the 76ers record improved to 40-22. It was their second in a row and sixth in their last eight. They will have a serious challenge on their hands when they return home Saturday night to take on the Golden State Warriors.