The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the 76ers, 117-115, at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday after. Here are my main takeaways and best and worst awards:
- The disdain that Joel Embiid and Russell Westbrook have for each other is real and fun to watch. Watching the All-Stars, who play different positions, go at one another is must-see TV.
- Ben Simmons will need to improve his foul shooting if the Sixers expect to make a run deep in the playoff. If not, teams are just going to try to exploit that by putting him at the foul line late in close games.
- Nerlens Noel and the Sixers would have been better off had he remained in Philly and agreed to be Embiid’s backup. The Oklahoma City reserve center would have been the solid rim-protecting backup the squad is in search of.
- Furkan Korkmaz is once again a seldom-used reserve swingman. The second-year player received a Did Not Play – Coach’s Decision after playing just 1 minute, 9 seconds on Thursday.
Best performance: I had to give this to Paul George. The five-time All-Star scored a team-high 31 points and had the game-winning four-point play for the Thunder. He made four three-pointers, went 11-for-11 from the foul line and had a game-high three steals.
Worst performance: This goes to Hamidou Diallo. The Oklahoma City reserve only played 4:20 against the Sixers. He failed to score while missing his lone shot. His only contribution was recording a personal foul. He grading out a minus-8
Best defensive performance: Jerami Grant gets this. He had two blocked shots and two steals.
Worst statistic: This goes to the Sixers committing 19 turnovers. Those turnovers led to 28 points.