Sixers roll past Spurs for sixth consecutive win

By Gina Mizell

PHILADELPHIA — With less than a minute to play in the second quarter, Joel Embiid handled the ball with the intent to dunk, but was fouled before he could slam it through the rim. He didn’t let a second opportunity go to waste less than 30 seconds later, driving for a one-handed poster dunk to send the Wells Fargo Center crowd into an awe-struck frenzy.

That thunderous finish epitomized a dominant Friday night for Embiid and the Sixers, who rolled San Antonio, 119-100, to collect their sixth consecutive victory.

The Sixers (22-16) raced out to a 21-point first-quarter lead, amassed 71 first-half points and answered each Spurs mini run. San Antonio got within 12 points with less than 10 minutes to play, but Tobias Harris immediately answered with a floater and added two free throws, before Seth Curry hit a pull-up jumper to extend the Sixers’ lead back to 105-88 with less than seven minutes to play.

The Sixers shot 51.7% from the floor, scored 23 second-chance points and 18 transition points in a game they never trailed.

The Sixers will go for seven wins in a row Monday at Houston, a team they blasted, 133-113, at home less than a week ago.

Standouts shine

The Sixers got productive performances from all three of their top players.

Embiid’s 31 points gave him six consecutive outings with 30 or more, eclipsing that total on a putback midway through the fourth quarter. He threw down two more driving dunks in the third period. He also manufactured 11 points on 15 attempts from the free-throw line and added 12 rebounds and seven assists on a night when he shot 10 of 23 from the floor.

Harris, who was booed on this floor Monday night, made eight of his first nine shots and finished with 23 points while aggressively getting downhill. He also totaled seven rebounds and five assists.

His spin and dunk gave the Sixers an early 18-7 lead, before a floater off a scramble for a loose ball extended that to 22-10 midway through the period. His put-back midway through the second quarter pushed the Sixers’ advantage to 51-36 midway through the second. He also hit a nifty turnaround jumper to give the Sixers an 87-71 lead in the third period.

Curry, meanwhile, put together another big first quarter (13 points) and finished with 23. He also totaled seven rebounds after grabbing seven in Wednesday’s victory at Orlando and seven assists while the Sixers continue to play without point guards Tyrese Maxey (health and safety protocols) and Shake Milton (back contusion).

Thybulle’s return

Matisse Thybulle returned from a “confusing” second stint in health and safety protocols to make an impact on both ends of the floor with 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting and two steals.

In the game’s opening minutes, he cut to the basket to collect a feed from Embiid for a dunk. When the Spurs cut the Sixers’ big lead to nine points in the second quarter, Thybulle buried a 3-pointer from the right wing. Later in that period, he was on the receiving end of an over-the-shoulder pass from Embiid for another slam. He opened the third with another inside finish.

Thybulle was also tasked with guarding San Antonio standout Dejounte Murray, who finished with 27 points on 10-of-23 shooting and nine assists. Murray was most effective during a third-quarter outburst to try to keep the Spurs within striking distance, when he converted inside on a nice move to the bucket, hit two 3-pointers and got inside for another finish.

Danny Green, meanwhile, played 15 minutes off the bench while limited with calf tightness. Though he went 2 of 4 from the floor for six points, two rebounds and one assist, it was an improvement on his 24-minute outing in Orlando when he did not take a shot or record a stat. And his corner three-pointer with less than four minutes to play was a big bucket to give the Sixers a 110-94 lead and squash the Sixers’ final threat.

There were stretches in all four quarters when Green and Thybulle shared the floor, a look Green said he liked a couple weeks ago when both players were healthy.

Welcome, Charlie Brown, Jr.

Brown, a Philly native and St. Joseph’s product, made an impact in his first action with his hometown team after signing a 10-day contract.

His first bucket as a Sixer was the result of a highlight play, when he got into the open floor to receive a long pass from Green off a steal for the banked-in and-1. In the third quarter, he grabbed an offensive rebound and dished to Curry for a 3-pointer that pushed the Sixers’ lead to 94-74.

Brown finished with three points, three rebounds and one assist. He previously spent time with Dallas on a 10-day contract after playing the bulk of the season for the G League’s Delaware Blue Coats.

Braxton Key, who also signed a 10-day contract earlier this week, also made his NBA debut in the game’s final minutes and dished out an assist on an Aaron Henry layup.


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