The 76ers took a 7-6 lead early in the first quarter, and didn’t give it up until halfway through the fourth, when a Markieff Morris trey tied the game at 93. And then Philly ran off eight points in a row, courtesy of Tobias Harris. It took a while for things to sink in, but by the 1:00 mark OKC had pulled back to within three, then to within two, but the Sixers had the ball with two seconds left. Having to foul, the Thunder unfortunately fouled J. J. Redick, who never misses a foul shot. And that’s where it ended, Philadelphia 108, Oklahoma City 104, the Sixers’ first win ever at Chesapeake Arena, and the third straight loss for OKC.
Paul George had a sore shoulder and couldn’t go tonight, but that’s why they have all those other players on the roster. Billy Donovan tweaked the starting five, moving Jerami Grant to the three and installing Morris at power forward. Grant had 23 points, Morris 17, both respectable, but it wasn’t enough, and anyway the Sixers were missing Joel Embiid. Steven Adams turned in an 11-14 double-double, and Russell Westbrook chalked up one more triple-double, 23-11-11.
All five Sixer starters were good for double figures, led by the twin forwards Tobias Harris (36) and Jimmy Butler (20). Philly was actually terrible at the line, hitting only 12 of 19, but the two that mattered were the two by Redick in the waning moments.
Saturday night, it’s Spurs time, the rubber game: both OKC and San Antonio have won once. Some of us still recall that last time in Alamo City, where the game went on seemingly all night. I’m not sure we’re up to that again.