Takeaways from the Sixers’ win over the Kings . . .
1) Aside from Joel Embiid, Matisse Thybulle played as big of a role as anybody in the Sixers’ recovery from a dismal end to the first half. With Josh Richardson knocked out of the game at halftime due to hamstring tightness, Thybulle saw his workload increase in the final two quarters, and he responded with what may have been his best all-round game as a pro.
Active on both ends of the court, Thybulle knocked down all three of his three-point attempts, including a catch-and-shoot off a kickout from Tobias Harris out of a double team that gave the Sixers a 74-64 lead late in the third quarter. This was just the second time this season that Thybulle has connected on multiple three-pointers in a game, the last being Oct. 28 against the Hawks, when he attempted a season-high seven. In his last 10 games, Thybulle is 7-for-10 from three-point range after starting the season 5-for-21.
The low point of the night came early in the fourth quarter when Thybulle somehow missed a two-handed baseline dunk when he appeared to be looking down at the rim, prompting a playful disapproving look from Joel Embiid and a smack on the back of the head from Mike Scott. He did get fouled on the play and sank both free throws. And he made sure to flush his next attempt, a couple of possessions later, when he picked the pocket of a Kings ballhandler and coasted to the other end of the court for the one-handed slam.
Thybulle finished with a career-high 15 points on 5-of-5 shooting in 19 minutes of action. It was the first double-digit scoring night of the rookie’s young career.
2) Two nights after scoring zero points in Toronto, Embiid clearly entered this one feeling like he had something to prove. The big man threw down a ferocious one-handed dunk on the Sixers first possession and followed it up with a pull-up from the foul line on their second. He had a double-double by halftime and 21 points and 11 boards midway through the third quarter.
That being said, the Sixers offense went into an epic funk in the latter stages of the second half. After taking a 34-24 lead with 6:40 remaining in the second quarter, the Sixers were outscored 23-13 the rest of the quarter amidst a maelstrom of awful looking offense. At one point, the Sixers turned the ball over on four of five possessions, including a three-second violation by Embiid.
But Embiid finished the game exactly as you would have hoped. His fourth-quarter performance was a big reason the Sixers were able to finally put away an outmatched and shorthanded Kings team. He hit a 16-foot pull up over Dewayne Dedmon early in the fourth quarter and a couple of possessions later knocked down a three-pointer. With 8:25 remaining, his dunk gave the Sixers a comfortable 87-71 lead.
Embiid finished with 33 points and 16 rebounds in 32 minutes of action.
Overall, it was not a great shooting night Sixers, who missed 14 of their first 17 shots from long range, including 0-for-4 from Mike Scott.
3) Richardson was a focal point of the Sixers’ offense early on, but was ruled out for the remainder of the night due to right hamstring tightness. Richardson entered the game shooting .581 from three-point range over his previous five games after shooting just .261 from long range in his first 10 games of the season.