The 76ers displayed everything but a prime-time victory.
The Sixers capped their day of ESPN all-access coverage with a 119-117 triple-overtime loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center. This was the Sixers’ second straight game that went beyond regulation and their first triple-overtime contest since Jan. 13, 2006.
Andre Roberson scored what turned out to be the game-winning basket on a reverse layup with 9.6 seconds remaining. After calling a timeout, the Sixers attempted to take the lead. However, JJ Redick’s three-point attempt was blocked by Patrick Patterson with 1.2 seconds left.
Russell Westbrook grabbed the rebound and was fouled by Joel Embiid. The Thunder point guard missed both of his foul shots. However, time expired after Sixers small forward Robert Covington grabbed the rebound of his second miss.
It was the Sixers’ fifth loss in six games and dropped them to 14-14. It also marked their 17th consecutive series setback to the Thunder (14-14).
This game didn’t lack for trash-talking excitement and exchanges involving Embiid. The Sixers center and Carmelo Anthony got into it after the Thunder forward fouled him with 2 minutes, 26 seconds left in regulation.
Then Embiid waved goodbye after fouling out Steven Adams at the 2:12 mark of the third overtime. After the game, Westbrook waved at Embiid.
“I was telling him to go home,” Westbrook said. “He was talking mess to Stephen after he fouled out waving to the crowd which was unnecessary, waving goodbye. Now it’s time for him to go home.”
Embiid gave the Thunder credit for winning the game. They said they did a lot of things to get the victory.
“But, I mean, the dude shot 10-for-33,” he said of Westbrook. “I wish I would have shot 33 times. I guess we would have had a better chance of actually winning the game.
“But he told me to go home. This is my home. I ain’t going nowhere.”
While he only made 30.3 percent of his shots, Westbrook had a huge hand in the outcome. The reigning league MVP finished with a team-high 27 points and game highs of 18 rebounds and 15 assists. It was his second straight triple-double and 10th of the season.
Embiid had a solid performance for the Sixers, finishing with a game-high 34 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two blocks but seven turnovers in 49 minutes.
However, he could not help the Sixers get a winning finale on a day of exposure.
ESPN covered the team from morning to night in what the network dubbed “Philadelphia All Access.”
The Sixers also unveiled a statue of former Sixers point guard Maurice Cheeks outside their practice facility in Camden. Cheeks, who also coached the Sixers, was in town as an assistant with the Thunder. The statue was shown off to fans along with a video montage during a timeout in Friday’s game.
Signifying the special day, the Sixers also unveiled their red “Statement” edition uniforms. This was the first of eight games they’ll don the uniforms this season. The next time will be against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Christmas Day.
On this night, the Sixers had six players score in double-digits.
Redick finished with 19 points. Dario Saric added 16, while Ben Simmons had 12 points, 11 assists, nine rebounds, four steals and three turnovers. Covington (11 points) and reserve Jerryd Bayless (14) were the Sixers’ other double-digit scorers. This was Covington’s first action after the missing the previous two games with a lower-back contusion.
He didn’t have the return he expected. He made just four of 21 shots. Covington shot three airballs while missing eight of his nine first-half shots.
Meanwhile, Anthony and Paul George joined Westbrook with big games for the Thunder. Both players finished with 24 points.
There was some controversy at the conclusion of the second overtime.
The Sixers called timeout after Embiid advanced the ball following a defensive rebound by Saric. They expected to receive the ball at midcourt due to his advancement. However, the official ruled that they had to go full court on the play. As a result, the Sixers were unable to execute the play they drew up and went into triple overtime.