The Sixers took on the Miami Heat for the second straight game on Thursday night. After an overtime thriller in game one, game two would be a completely different story. The almost full strength Sixers would go on to beat the Heat by a final score of 125-108.
Here are some takeaways from the Sixers' blowout victory.
No signs of rust
The Sixers would get some reinforcements in this game in the form of Tobias Harris, Shake Milton, and Matisse Thybulle. Despite having to sit out for multiple games due to health and safety protocols, they did not show it.
Milton would come back tonight and erupt on the offensive end. He led the team in scoring with a game-high 31 points and dished seven assists. His presence was greatly missed in the Sixers' second unit.
Harris was playing some of his best basketball before having to sit for protocol reasons, and he did not skip a beat in his return. He would set the tone offensively from the opening tip and end his night with 18 points on efficient shooting.
Thybulle was just getting his footing in the rotation after Furkan Korkmaz was injured, and would put on a solid performance in his return. Doc Rivers would say after the game that he was phenomenal on defense against the Heat, racking up four steals in the contest. Along with his standout play on defense, Thybulle would also knock down a pair of threes on offense.
Seeing these three come back and instantly get back in a groove is a great sign for the team as they look to get back on track when back to full health.
Rookies continue to shine
Losing half the roster took its toll on the Sixers in their recent stretch, but some good came out of it. This opportunity opened up a lot of time on the floor for some players, and two in particular have made the most of the opportunity.
Tyrese Maxey and Isaiah Joe have been two huge bright spots of playing with a depleted roster. Maxey had already started making a name for himself, but this extended time on the floor has allowed him to turn heads and show what he can do on a larger scale.
Not to mention, this stretch has allowed Joe to emerge and show he can be a nice piece for the team as he develops.
Both of the Sixers' draft picks would break double digits in this win. Maxey would be the fifth starter in the game and rack up 15 points. Joe continues to shoot the lights out, knocking down four threes en route to finishing the game with 12 points.
The Sixers already look like a deep team and having their rookies come out and play the way they have only makes the roster look deeper. Hopefully, the two can continue to build on the strong play they had of late.
Ben Simmons bounces back
Ben Simmons had been struggling on the floor as of late but would bounce back in this one. Whether it was due to the injury he suffered or the trade rumors swirling around him ending, Simmons looked much comfortable on the floor in the second game against Miami.
The 24-year-old All-Star would do it all in this one, ending the night with his second triple-double of the season and the 30th for his career. Simmons would finish the game with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists. He has now matched his season-high in assists in back to back games.
Having Maxey in the starting lineup allowed Simmons to play off the ball more, and showed some nice flashes. With Maxey initiating the offense, it allowed Simmons to slingshot himself to the rim from the wing and generate some good looks. He would also spot up and attempt a corner three with no hesitation.
Getting the roster back close to full health was a big boost to Simmons' game. Having most of the team's perimeter threats back allowed him to attack the rim and kick to shooters. The presence of those shooters also denied Miami the ability to wall off Simmons in the lane, which allowed him to find lanes to attack the basket.
Now that all the Harden trade drama is over, Simmons should get back to playing freely. The team's decision to not trade him should be a confidence boost, and hopefully we continue to see Simmons play more like the way he did on Thursday against the Heat.