Sixers-Clippers: Robert Covington comes up big, Joel Embiid strong, and other quick thoughts from a 109-105 win

Robert Covington clutch in the end

He hit the game-changing three with 33 seconds left to play on a feed from Dario Saric to take a 103-101 lead. He hit crucial free throws with 10 seconds left, grabbed the rebound on Lou Williams’ intentionally missed free throw, then hit another two at the charity stripe to finish with a career high 31 points to go with six rebounds, four assists, and four steals. As always his defensive game was an integral piece of what the Sixers were able to do, but it was his clutch performance at the end of the game that helped the Sixers break a two-game skid.

Joel Embiid dominates

After a couple of lackluster performances Embiid came out against the Clippers with a showing much like we saw last season. Cunning, strong, and aggressive. Even when Willie Reed started to get physical, later committing a flagrant 1 foul, Embiid kept his cool and answered by continuing to play at a high level. He backed down the Clippers’ big men, and dominated in the paint with pump fakes and aggressive moves. When he was caught after a dribble beyond the arc he hit from there as well. Embiid finished with a season-high 32 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.

Ben Simmons aggressive from the jump

Like Embiid, Simmons was off in Sacramento, but he was on in L.A. He tied the game, 81-81, on a reverse dunk off the ally-oop pass from Justin Anderson, that was Simmons’ seventh field goal and seventh dunk of the night. Known for his speed and ability to get to the rim, the rookie put that and more on display. Not a great free throw shooter, Simmons put away important shots from the foul line down the stretch and finished with 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting including going 4-of-6 from the free throw line.

Dario Saric plays top-notch defense

Defensively is where Saric shined on Monday. Blake Griffin is a tough assignment. It wasn’t made any easier for Saric when he was tasked with taking on the quickness of Lou Williams or Austin Rivers on the switch. Even when he helped over on DeAndre Jordan, he stood his ground and kept his arms as straight as an arrow. Saric is often graded on his offensive performances, but he truly is a versatile and strong defender and he showed that against the Clippers. He closed out the night with just two points, but his performance on the other end was more valuable and was the reason he was in the game in the closing moments.

 

Turnovers continue to plague Sixers

The Sixers went into Monday’s contest averaging a league-worst 18.5 turnovers per game, and turnovers are what hurt them down the stretch in Los Angeles. A Covington steal midway through the fourth quarter that led to a 3-on-1 break to the other end was thwarted when J.J. Redick made a bad pass. That play turned into a three-pointer for Lou Williams and a six-point lead for the Clippers. It seemed like that was going to be the turning point of the game, and had it not been for Covington’s heroics, it would be the biggest talking point. The Sixers finished with 20 turnovers that led to 25 points for the Clippers.