The Philadelphia 76ers won a road game. They beat the Denver Nuggets 124-122. That's enough for celebration. They won a close game without their usual collapse in the 4th quarter. They avenged a close, crazy loss last time they were in Denver. They won to end the year. They won with a depleted roster on the second of a back to back. There are plenty of ways to look at this game. It's all good.
The game went as usual for the Sixers. Things were close for the first half. It ended with the first half being tied at 60. The 3rd quarter went the same way as the teams went back and forth. At some point, Brett Brown got a technical foul. Embiid was called for an offensive foul and Brown walked across and on the court yelling at the official who made the call. It remains to be seen if he had a case. From the looks of it, Embiid did commit a foul, but there was some selling involved.
In the 3rd quarter, Robert Covington exploded. He was scoreless in the first half and at the end of the quarter, he had 15 points. On one possesion, the Sixers were barely hanging onto the ball. Seriously. Embiid was bouncing the ball in his hands and suddenly tossed it to Covington. He nearly had the ball stolen, got it back, turned around, and immediately shot a DEEP 3 as the shot clock was expiring. It was wild.
The Sixers were up by 4 at the end of the 3rd. Things were close and it was essentially expected the Sixers would do what they normally do: Collapse in the final 12 minutes. Up until this point, the game looked pretty interesting. The Sixers looked strong despite having only 9 players and playing the second game of a back to back.
The 4th quarter was more of the same. The teams battled and battled hard. But wait! The Sixers went up by 10 points. All seemed fine. TJ McConnell took over the quarter for the Sixers with a barrage of points. The Sixers were well on their way to victory. But then, the Nuggets came back. Soon, it was a tight game and memories of recent losses as well as the last time the Sixers were in Denver surfaced.
Indeed, it felt like a loss was on the way.
But, the Sixers held on. They held on to win the game. They led the majority of the game and finished it out. Thing is, they nearly blew it in the final seconds. Sixers were up by 4, with just several seconds to go. In what appeared to be a horrible foul, Embiid was called for fouling a three point attempt so the Nuggets went to the line.
If you know enough about basletball strategy, you would imagine the Nuggets, with 1.5 seconds left, would make the first two free throws and then miss the final one to try to get an offensive board and put back. That's how it played out. It was 122-124 and the Nuggets missed the final one on purpose. They ended up getting 3 shots at the basket, but nothing went down.
Embiid and Ilyasova scored 23 points. Ilyasova also had 13 rebounds. Embiid had 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocks. The quarter heroes, Covington and McConnell had 19 and 17 points, respectively. McConnell also had 8 assists. Dario Saric was solid all game and finished with a double double of 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The Nuggets were led by Nikola Jokic with 25 points and 7 rebounds.
The Sixers finished their road trip with a win. Good way to finish anything.