As Philadelphia plays their only game in Los Angeles this season, Danny Green and Dwight Howard received their championship rings pregame. From there, the two would go on quite different paths during the game.
In a wild and unpredictable game, the Sixers managed to notch yet another win without Joel Embiid.
Howard had a stellar block on Montrezl Harrell that started some jawing between the two and resulted in Howard getting a technical. After the first quarter, Howard and Harrell again got tangled up resulting in a quick second technical and ejection for Howard.
Philadelphia, who had traded Vincent Poirier and Tony Bradley earlier in the day, was now forced to go much smaller playing Mike Scott and the G-League MVP, Paul Reed.
Forced to go small, Philadelphia group rebounded with no player having more than seven boards, but five players grabbing at least five rebounds.
Ben Simmons dished the ball all around the court having 11 assists halfway through the third quarter. Tobias Harris played his typical strong game. Seth Curry returned to the lineup and tingled the nets from 3-point range four times in eight tries.
Yet, the story of the night was Green. In his return to Los Angeles, Green drilled eight 3-pointers. Green was shooting with confidence and even took his time to let the Los Angeles bench know he was feeling it at one point.
As for the flow of the game, the teams traded baskets throughout the first half with neither team taking a lead of more than nine points and heading to the locker rooms all even at 54.
Whereas the first half was an even affair, the third quarter was a Philadelphia barrage. With no big on the floor, Philadelphia employed four shooters around Simmons. The team poured in six 3-pointers in the quarter, held Los Angeles to 17 points, and a Shake Milton 3 at the buzzer extended Philadelphia’s lead to 89-71.
The fourth quarter felt like Philadelphia was trying not to lose. The team clearly entered cruise control and in turn, Harrell made them pay. Harrell scored 14 points in the quarter as Los Angeles tried to mount their comeback.
A Kyle Kuzma 3-pointer with 51 seconds remaining tightened Philadelphia’s lead to 104-101 before the star of the night, Danny Green, drained a 3-pointer to ice the game and ultimately give Philadelphia the win, 109-101.
DANNY GREENSF, 76ers
33 mins | 28 pts | 5 reb | 0 ast | 1 stl | 2 blk | 1 TO | 9-14 FG | 8-12 3PT| 2-2 FT | 5 PF | +9 |
This was a perfect revenge game. On a night he received his ring, on a day where he wasn’t traded, Green puts on his season’s best performance. This was the game for Green. For Philadelphia fans, let’s hope the momentum keeps going as they stay in the same arena on Saturday.
DWIGHT HOWARDC, 76ers
6 mins | 6 pts | 2 reb | 0 ast | 0 stl | 2 blk | 2 TO | 3-3 FG | 0-0 3PT| 0-0 FT | 2 PF | -2 |
Howard received his ring. He was effectively the only big on Philadelphia’s roster. He clearly was fired up, delivered one of the better blocks this year, and then was gone. Howard’s ejection was a joke. A pitiful call that changed the game.
It doesn’t matter. He received two technicals and it could have cost Philadelphia the game. There are very few nights that Howard needs to be careful not to foul. Tonight, was one and he failed the team in that regard.
TOBIAS HARRISPF, 76ers
40 mins | 17 pts | 6 reb | 5 ast | 2 stl | 1 blk | 2 TO | 8-10 FG | 0-1 3PT| 1-1 FT | 3 PF | +2 |
Harris is so good. 80 percent from the field and a diversified stat line. For those who didn’t watch, it was exactly what you would expect. Harris helped facilitate the offense once Simmons has brought it up the court. He played within himself while also leading. As for all-star… only a matter of time.
BEN SIMMONSPG, 76ers
39 mins | 9 pts | 7 reb | 12 ast | 2 stl | 1 blk | 7 TO | 1-7 FG | 0-1 3PT| 7-11 FT | 5 PF | +8 |
Seven turnovers and only one basket made all night. That is awful. And yet, Simmons played a strong game. Box score seekers will not appreciate everything Simmons did. His tempo and passing made the job easy for Philadelphia’s shooters. An assist is an assist but finding people wide open because you’ve dictated space and tempo makes the game easier for all around you. Simmons did so in spades tonight.
SETH CURRYSG, 76ers
27 mins | 19 pts | 1 reb | 2 ast | 0 stl | 0 blk | 2 TO | 7-13 FG | 4-8 3PT| 1-1 FT | 1 PF | +7 |
Curry, in his return from injury, was pure from 3. His spacing means everything to the team and he even caught Schroder with a step back in the third quarter that showed a glimpse of his creation. Curry’s spacing allows others to flourish.
Philadelphia’s game plan changed when Howard went out and they were able to hold on in the Staples Center. With the Los Angeles Clippers healthier than their LA counterpart, Philadelphia will need all available hands on deck as they face off with the other LA on Saturday. The struggling Los Angeles Lakers will look to immediately get back on track as they host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday in a back-to-back.