Observations from Sixers’ Blowout Win Over Thunder
After going through a rough four-game losing streak, the Sixers finally get back to their winning ways. They would head back home on Monday and beat the Oklahoma City Thunder by a final score of 121-90.
Here are some observations from the blowout victory.
Recharged Ben Simmons
The Sixers have been dealing with the injury bug as the regular season comes to a close. For the last two weeks, they have rolled out multiple different lineups adjusting to guys being in and out. This game would be the first in about a week where they would have their stars all available.
Ben Simmons would make his return to the lineup after being out battling a non-Covid illness. After being out for a week, Simmons did not miss a beat. He was all over the floor on both ends, looking completely recharged and rejuvenated.
It didn't take long for Simmons to remind everyone how he impacts the game all over the floor. He would end Monday's matchup with 12 points, three rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks.
Although it kept him on the sideline for a week, Simmons doesn't look depleted after dealing with his illness. Seeing him refreshed and recharged is great for the team as the playoffs are right around the corner.
One area that the Sixers had going all night was three-point shooting. The Thunder collapsed the lane defensively all night, allowing the Sixers to get multiple clean looks from beyond the arc.
The Sixers' shooters made the defense pay for leaving them open. By the end of the third quarter, they were shooting 52.2% from three. Seven different players hit a shot from deep before garbage time. Most notable was Matisse Thybulle, who knocked down two of his three attempts.
This is one area that Ben Simmons has a great impact. Very few players create the amount of three-point looks that Simmons does, and it was showcased in this game. Joel Embiid would also make good reads off of double teams to find open shooters.
Outside shooting is crucial for the Sixers to be successful on the offensive end. If teams can't leave the players on the perimeter, it allows Embiid and Simmons to operate freely around the rim and in the mid-range.
Defense has been the thing that the Sixers have hung their hat on all year. Being back to almost full strength allowed them to get back to being the defensive powerhouse that they are.
The Sixers' activity in the passing lanes is what would stand out most from their efforts. 11 different players would end this game with at least one steal. Six of those players would have two or more, and Tobias Harris would lead the team with four.
In total, the team would finish the game with 22 steals. It is the most in a game this season from any team in the league.
Doc Rivers has preached all season about turning defense into offense, and the team would do that in abundance against OKC. This collective defensive effort showed a glimpse of how good this team can be on that end when locked in.