GRADES: Sixers bounce back with easy win over Thunder

Seth Curry, Sixers Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Seth Curry, Sixers Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

After a classic Sixers collapse in the final minutes of their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, the team bounced back strongly against the young Oklahoma City Thunder, winning 115-103. The Sixers got some bad news before the game, with backup big man Andrew Drummond out with a sprained ankle. The injury gave an opportunity for Georges Niang and Paul Reed to play some minutes as small-ball fives.

The Sixers raced out to an early 16-point thanks largely to Seth Curry’s ridiculous 3-point shooting. Tobias Harris also chipped in, using his size to dominate inside the paint for easy layups. The Sixers ball movement looked good, which Doc has made a priority. But the Thunder battled back, thanks to some careless Sixers passes, drawing to within eight by halftime.

The second half began frustratingly, with the Sixers failing to convert a number of points in the paint. The Thunder refused to go away, keeping the Sixers lead in the single digits for much of the third quarter. OKC’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander performed as advertised, finishing with 29 points and eight assists.

The Sixers bench unit began the fourth quarter on a tear, ballooning the lead to 18 points. But the Thunder refused to go away, bringing the lead down to 12, forcing Doc to bring his starters back. The starters closed out the game well, never letting the lead drop below eight.

Kate Scott continues to settle in nicely as an announcer, telling us in perfect French that she is a pineapple (“Je suis un ananas.”).

Grades from the Sixers’ win over the Thunder

  • Seth Curry: A

34 mins | 28 pts | 3 reb | 3 ast | 1 stl | 0 blk | 0 TO | 9-15 FG | 7-10 3PT| 3-4 FT | 2 PF | +10 |

Seth continued his torrid shooting, making six of his first seven 3-point attempts en route to a ridiculous 23-point first quarter. He also flashed some of his other skills, making good entry passes to Embiid and driving to the hoop for easy layups. Seth disappeared for a while but hit a key three in the final minute to end the Thunder’s comeback. He also had an impressive offensive rebound over two taller OKC defenders. His play thus far may make GM Daryl Morey wonder whether he needs to trade for another shooting guard. It’s hard to imagine someone playing this well coming off the bench…

  • Joel Embiid: B+

33 mins | 22 pts | 9 reb | 6 ast | 1 stl | 3 blk | 0 TO | 8-15 FG | 2-5 3PT| 4-6 FT | 2 PF | +10 |

It wouldn’t be a Sixers game if Embiid didn’t scare us with a possible injury. Early on his knee started bleeding and he went to the locker room to change his tights. Fortunately the injury wasn’t serious, and he returned to dominate as usual. Embiid played great defense around the rim, got out in transition, and even made a nifty no-look pass to Danny Green. Joel hit some threes as well, which must be so frustrating to defend. Impressively, he did not commit a single turnover.

  • Tyrese Maxey: C

34 mins | 14 pts | 5 reb | 2 ast | 0 stl | 1 blk | 3 TO | 4-13 FG | 0-4 3PT| 6-7 FT | 5 PF | -3 |

Maxey had a very up-and-down game as he continues to learn the point guard position. In the first half he missed both of his 3-point shots and passed up several open threes throughout the game. He also seemed hesitant to drive to the lane and did not create much offense for his teammates. Maxey disappeared for long stretches of the first half, although that could be because Curry was cooking from three.

Maxey had a much better third quarter. He confidently drove into the lane, finished at the rim, drew fouls, and found open shooters. He also performed admirably in defending SGA for most of the game, a tough assignment to draw. But his 3-point shot has to improve; 0-4 won’t cut it. Only having two assists and finishing as the sole 76er with a negative plus/minus also doesn’t look great. Hopefully better days are coming for Maxey.

  • Furkan Korkmaz: B-

17 mins | 9 pts | 1 reb | 3 ast | 0 stl | 0 blk | 1 TO | 3-9 FG | 1-5 3PT| 2-2 FT | 0 PF | +7 |

Point Furk is a thing. His handles are much better than we expected, he puts pressure on the rim, creates for his teammates, and is always a threat to hit a three. Despite having an off night from three, he kept shooting, finishing with nine points. Korkmaz did, however, struggle on back-to-back possessions in the fourth quarter with Luguentz Dort defending him. His play so far is going to make it hard for Isaiah Joe to stay in the rotation once Shake Milton returns.

  • Georges Niang: A-

20 mins | 12 pts | 2 reb | 3 ast | 0 stl | 0 blk | 1 TO | 4-8 FG | 3-4 3PT| 1-1 FT | 3 PF | +6 |

Morey must be pretty proud of adding Niang to the roster over the summer. He fits well with the team, can play as both PF and small ball five. Niang shot the ball confidently, making open and contested threes. He also showed some solid dribble penetration and offense creation. Very nice night for the Iowa State product.

Next up for the 76ers are the Knicks on Tuesday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 PM EST.

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