Missing three key starters to Ben Simmons (illness), Tobias Harris (knee) and Seth Curry (hip), the Philadelphia 76ers nearly pulled off a miracle against the Phoenix Suns, losing 116-113 to the Wells Fargo Center.
With just 0.8 on the clock, Joel Embiid nearly equalized and sent the game into overtime with that full lift, which was so close to going down.
– NBA (@NBA) April 22, 2021
With the win, the Suns improve to 2-0 on that road trip, with a biting overtime victory over the Milwaukee Bucks and now they only give the 76ers their seventh home loss of the season.
Booker vs. Thybulle
An elite offensive player facing a lockdown defender. This cat and mouse game between Devin Booker and Matisse Thybulle was something else.
Booker has been a thorn in the 76ers in recent years, scoring over 30 points in each of his last seven games against the 76ers, the longest streak for a Suns player against a single opponent. But he had his hands full with the 76ers wing stalking him around the perimeter, cutting off his lanes and denying him the ball with relentless energy.
The Suns guard finished with 19 points, seven assists and three rebounds shooting 6 of 14 from the field and 0 of 3 from the 3-point line, but with Thybulle as the main defenseman he only managed 11 points on 3. -of-11 shooting and 0-of-3 deep. Thybulle also picked up a pair of blocks and flies.
The best of the peloton, his recovery to send these 3-point attempts to the stands.
– Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) April 22, 2021
“All-Defense, that’s for sure in my opinion,” 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said after the game over Thybulle’s defensive credentials.
“There aren’t ten top defensemen in the league, I can tell you. There might not be five.”
He finished with zero points, playing a team-high 36 minutes, but his impact was felt far beyond the box’s score.
While Booker was made to work for every bucket, he had the final say, draining that clutch fadeaway to put the Suns ahead by six with just 13.7 remaining in the fourth quarter.
– Phoenix Suns (@Suns) April 22, 2021
Chris Paul looks like an MVP
The 36-year-old is an unlikely choice for the MVP award, but the way he orchestrates this Suns team, especially against the league’s top teams, is a timely reminder of just how good the veteran point guard is.
This week alone, he passed Magic Johnson for fifth place all-time in assists and after a performance of 22 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds against the Bucks, he followed up with another prolific outing against the 76ers.
Paul led the Suns with 28 points and eight assists, increasing an absurdly rolling assist ratio in his last seven games with 67 assists and just three turnovers. Point to God.
Chris Paul last 7 matches:
0.4 TOV / G
He has 67 assists and 3 turnovers during this span. pic.twitter.com/N4nWX7hvgj
– StatMuse (@statmuse) April 22, 2021
“There is nothing like having a floor general, a leader who can help his teammates but also his teammates need,” Suns general manager James Jones recently told Bleacher Report.
“They all know they need him to survive; they need him to flourish. This is what is so unique about him. That’s what Chris likes. He loves to see these guys flourish.
Embiid fights with pain
Speaking of MVP contenders, for the second game in a row without his main co-stars, Joel Embiid delivered another outstanding performance with 38 points, 17 rebounds (8 offensives) and four assists.
He scored nine of the team’s first 15 points and smashed the glass with force, creating a ton of extra opportunities for his teammates.
76ers fans held their breath in the third quarter when the tall man went to the bench, gripping his knee after appearing to slam him on the pitch. He came into the game with just over six minutes to go, with the 76ers losing seven.
The 27-year-old has said he is “not in the best physical shape at this point” but felt compelled to play given the team’s string of injuries and expects to. show up for Thursday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks on the second night of a back-to-back.
“I can’t rest. Even though I’m injured, I have to keep pushing,” he said after the game.
Embiid has already missed 18 games this season, including a bone bruise on his right knee that saw him miss 11 games after the All-Star break, back tightness and pain in his right knee.
The Suns continue their four-game road trip tomorrow in Boston against the Celtics, before a signature game against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday (ET).
Meanwhile, the 76ers will travel to Milwaukee to face the Bucks for two straight games.
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