Here are my key takeaways and “best” and “worst” awards from the 76ers’ 119-117 triple overtime loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
— Joel Embiid is going to be Joel Embiid regardless of the opponent. The Sixers center is the self-named ‘Tro-el Embiid’ on social media. He also talks trash and even borderline shows up opponents during games. His antics appeared to bother Thunder standouts Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook during the game. However, folks need to realize that Embiid will not change and that confrontation fuels the big man.
— The Sixers just can’t get a break for the injury-bug blues. Trevor Booker suffered a game-ending sprained left ankle in the third quarter. X-rays were negative for the reserve power forward. However, he joins a “who’s who” of Sixers players to get injured this season.
— Robert Covington’s stat line is misleading. Folks will think the Sixers small forward had a solid game due to finishing 11 points, 10 rebounds, three steals, two assists and two blocked shots. However, those numbers had more to do with playing 48 minutes, 36 seconds of a game that went into triple overtime. Covington actually struggled in his first game back from a lower-back contusion. He shot 4 of 21 from the field and missed 12 of his 15 three-point attempts.
— Another game, another turnover-plagued performance for the Sixers. They committed 21 turnovers on Friday, three days after committing a season-worst 26. Luckily for the Sixers, the Thunder only managed 13 points of the giveaways.
— The Sixers didn’t go with one of their hot hands in the clutch. Jerryd Bayless was the team’s best three-point shooting against the Thunder. The reserve guard made 4 of 6 long-range shots en route to scoring 14 points. He finished 4-for-7 overall from the field. The Sixers could have used him down the stretch. However, he didn’t return after exiting the game with 5 minutes, 28 seconds left in regulation. The Sixers did go on an 11-0 run to force overtime with him out of the game. However, the team could have used his three-point shooting in the first and third overtimes when they combined to shoot 0-for-7.
‘Best’ and ‘Worst’ awards
— Best performance: This was an easy one. Westbrook was the most dominant player even on a night when he shot 10-for-33 from the field. He finished with 27 points and game highs of 18 rebounds and 15 assists to post his second straight and 10th triple-double of the season. Westbrook scored six of the Thunders’ eight points in the third overtime. He also grabbed seven rebounds during the five-minute session and assisted on the game-winning basket.
— Worst performance: This goes to Covington on a night he recorded a double-double. Maybe it has something to do with his back, but his shot suffered big-time on this night.
— Best defensive performance: I had to give this to Andre Roberson. He made JJ Redick work for everything on this night. Redick finished with 19 points. However, the Sixers shooting guard made just 4 of 13 three-pointers. Roberson also had three steals and two blocks.
— Worst statistic: This goes to the Sixers’ three-point shooting. They shot 28.3 percent (13 of 46). It’s crazy that 46 of their 100 attempts were three-pointers when you have a dominant post player in Embiid.
— Best statistic: You have to give this to the Thunder’s rebounding. They outrebounded the Sixers, 60-50, on this night. They really made a killing in offensive rebounds, holding a 18-7 advantage.
— Worst of the worst: This goes to the Sixers’ final offensive possession. With the team trailing by two with 1.2 seconds remaining. The Sixers gave the ball to Redick instead of feeding it down low to Embiid. The post player would have had the advantage because Steven Adams fouled out of the game. Instead, Redick attempted a three-pointer that was blocked.