Instant Observations: Harris, Maxey and Payne Power 76ers to Road Win Over Clippers

Instant Observations: Harris, Maxey and Payne Power 76ers to Road Win Over Clippers Mar 24, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey (0) gets by Los Angeles Clippers guard Amir Coffey (7) for a basket in the second half at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey and Cam Payne all finished with 20-plus points. The Philadelphia 76ers (39-32) defeated the Los Angeles Clippers (44-26) 121-107 on Sunday evening at the Arena.

Harris led the Sixers with 24 points on 11-of-19 shooting to go with four rebounds and four assists. Maxey scored 24 points on 9-of-17 shooting while also dishing out six assists. Payne finished with 23 points, five rebounds, one steal and two blocks off the bench.

Joel Embiid (left knee meniscus procedure), De’Anthony Melton (lumbar spine bone stress), Kyle Lowry (rest), Robert Covington (left knee bone bruise) and Kai Jones (right hamstring strain) were all out of the lineup for the Sixers.

The Clippers were led in the loss by Kawhi Leonard’s 20 points and six rebounds. James Harden, in his first game against his former team, totaled 12 points and 14 assists. Norman Powell finished with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting off the bench. The Clippers were without Russell Westbrook (left hand fracture) and P.J. Tucker (right calf soreness).

The Sixers end their four game West Coast road trip with a matchup against the Sacramento Kings on Monday night. Here are some instant observations from the win over the Clippers:


– The first quarter was arguably the best the Sixers’ offense has looked since Embiid went down with a knee injury. After having a couple of brutal shooting nights in their previous two games, they could not miss against the Clippers. The Sixers shot 68% from the field and 77.8% from 3-point range in the first quarter on their way to building a 41-29 lead.

Harris spearheaded the Sixers’ hot start, scoring the team’s first seven points. He got to his spots with ease, carving up the Clippers’ defense with one mid-range bucket after another. Players like Harden and Terance Mann proved to be no match for Harris’ combination of strength and touch. After getting into a quick rhythm, he consistently terrorized the Clippers throughout the remainder of the game. While most of his damage came from the mid-range, Harris did a good job mixing in shots around the rim. Harris scored 19 points in the first half alone. It was easily the best he has looked since the beginning of the season. He has been much maligned in this column (deservedly so) over the past few weeks, but performances like the one against the Clippers are evidence of what he is capable of when things are clicking.

Kelly Oubre Jr. stepped up to be one of the Sixers’ most productive options in Embiid’s absence. His scoring punch has been crucial to keeping the offense afloat. While he matched his typical scoring numbers against the Clippers, his success as a passer stood out. He is doing an effective job taking advantage of the attention he is drawing from his drives to the basket. On one play late in the first quarter, he drove the basket and found KJ Martin for a layup at the rim after his defender rotated over to defend the drive. Those are the types of plays that Oubre was not making earlier this season. He dished out a season-high six assists, continuing his newfound success as a playmaker. Oubre also added to his solid performance against the Clippers by making a monstrous block on a Paul George layup attempt in the second half.

– For much of the game, the Sixers offense was humming despite a quiet performance from Maxey. The All-Star guard began to heat up in the third quarter, but he absolutely exploded in the fourth quarter. The Sixers held a five-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but they proceeded to blow the game open in the ensuing minutes. They opened the quarter on a 20-4 run, expanding their lead to 21 points. Maxey powered the Sixers’ run, scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter. He knocked down a pair of 3-pointers before then moving inside the arc, where he made multiple contested shots around the basket. The Clippers did a good job defending Maxey for most of the game, but he was able to get going and produce when it mattered most.

– Whenever the Sixers offense has needed a spark in recent games, Payne has been there to provide it. That trend was no different against the Clippers. Payne had his best game of the season, acting as a high-volume outside shooter while also playing effective perimeter defense. He scored 13 points in the second half, with nearly all of them coming late in the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter. Between Maxey’s explosion and Payne’s hot stretch of play, the Sixers pulled away from the Clippers and made it a non-contest in the final minutes. His ability to be a microwave scorer off the bench will potentially be crucial for the Sixers come the postseason.

– After being at best a non-factor when on the floor earlier this season, Mo Bamba has looked like a completely different player over the last handful of games. He is playing solid defense around the basket, blocking a pair of shots at the rim against the Clippers. Bamba also effectively hit the glass, grabbing seven rebounds. In addition to his play defensively, he is also doing a solid job spacing the floor. He knocked down at least one 3-pointer for the seventh consecutive contest.


– There was not much to dislike from the Sixers’ performance against the Clippers. One of the lone things to pick on was their lapse late in the first half and early in the third quarter. After building up a 17-point lead, they allowed the Clippers to end the first half on a 10-run that got them back into the game. The Clippers then began the second half on a 14-7 run, completely erasing the Sixers’ lead. While they were able to bounce back and win the game with ease, they will not often be able to get away with poor stretches of play against talented teams like the Clippers.

Go to top button