Embiid, Sixers Fall Just Inches Short


Wow.


Yeah, they lost. Okay. But that was still, in every sense of the word, unbelievable. An 85-foot overhead throw with 0.8 seconds on the clock. And he was that close to forcing overtime. The ball was literally in the cylinder for a mere moment.


The Sixers lost at home to the Phoenix Suns by a score of 116-113.


Joel Embiid was superhuman tonight, what else is new? 38 points on 61% shooting, 17 rebounds, 4 assists, and all while admitting he wasn't at 100% health and had originally planned on sitting out before finding out that some of his teammates weren't suiting up. Don't take this man for granted. He is a different animal this season.


It is fair to say that the George Hill acquisition was exactly what this team needed. He finally gives the team a true point guard in that second unit and someone who you can trust to dribble, pass and shoot. Matisse Thybulle had a very impressive performance and scored zero points. How often can you say that? 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 3 blocks, and did a phenomenal job as the primary defender all night long on the Sixers-killer himself, Devin Booker. Aside from Embiid, Danny Green was the Sixer leading scorer with 18 points while hitting 4 threes.


Shake Milton struggled mightily in all areas, in what may have honestly been the worst game in his entire career so far. Inserted into the starting lineup, he turned in a 2/10 shooting performance with 4 turnovers, and in his 24 minutes of action, he had a plus-minus of -17 in a one-possession loss. Rookie Tyrese Maxey stepped up amidst some of the absences in the Sixers' guard rotation and played exceptionally well tonight. His 14 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals really gave that bench unit a jolt, and he played well enough to get some run in the closing lineup in place of Milton.


Entering tonight, Devin Booker had the second-highest points per game against the 76ers franchise amongst all NBA players ever. His 29.8 per game mark was behind only some shooting guard for the Bulls. So holding him to 19 points was a pleasant surprise, to say the least. He still hit a clutch shot that put Phoenix up 6 with 13 seconds remaining. Can't keep great players down all night long. Chris Paul stepped up amidst an off-night from Booker, chipping in 28 points and 8 dimes.


For the Sixers to have been missing Tobias Harris, Ben Simmons, and Seth Curry, and then have Furkan Korkmaz go back to the locker room early in the second half, I thought they played pretty well. The Suns have the second best record in the entire league, and aside from Jae Crowder exiting early, they were 100% healthy. And they lost by three points. If there is a such thing as a loss to be proud of, I think this is the one.


With the win, the Suns will improve to 42-16, including 9-2 in the month of April. They cut the lead behind the western conference-leading Utah Jazz to 1.5 games. The Sixers have now dropped two straight and will fall to 39-19, but still hold a slim half-game lead on the Brooklyn Nets for the top spot in the eastern conference. Philadelphia's next two games are Thursday and Saturday, both of which are against the Bucks in Milwaukee. They will look to have their revenge on Giannis Antetokounmpo and company, as their last matchup saw Milwaukee walk away with an overtime victory.

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