James Harden and Joel Embiid left to rest for the fifth and final game of the “road trip” West of the Sixers, we didn’t give much skin from Philadelphia to Sacramento.
A feeling was confirmed in the first half, with a Kings attack running at full speed to lead by as many as 21 points (71-50) in the second quarter. The first assist from Tyrese Maxey, assisted by Georges Niang and Danuel House Jr. outside, as well as Montrezl Harrell inside, however will limit the destruction (74-64) in the middle, and will not remove the troops of Doc Rivers from the game.
A sequence that will set the tone for the second half, with the aggressive Sixers, who will take advantage of the lack of intimidation near the Kings circle to hammer Mike Brown’s defense, taking advantage of the loss of the offensive rhythm of Harrison Barnes and company to take advantage!
But the Kings have pride (this season) and De’Aaron Fox will still shine in the fourth quarter to avoid an unpleasant loss.
Failed because the Sixers could always find a liberating basket in “money-time”, by Georges Niang or Tyrese Maxey, while Harrison Barnes still had three free throws to equalize at the end. Except the first was missed and he had to miss the third to hope for a miracle. That will not happen (127-129).
WHAT YOU SHOULD REMEMBER
– A lead of 21 points flies away. When the shooters in Sacramento are on pace, this team is very difficult to maneuver. In the second quarter, Harrison Barnes, Keegan Murray and Kevin Huerter were hot, and the Kings were able to lead by as many as 21 points. Unfortunately, skill isn’t everything in basketball, and when the shooters went cold, the Kings struggled to find other weapons.
– The Kings ate in the paint. Because this Sacramento team could be a nice surprise of the season, there is clearly no threat in the bottom circle. Domantas Sabonis is not a defender of the basket, and when his teammates get beat on the first opposing step, it can quickly hurt a lot. Showing 70 points scored on the Sixers’ racket, along with clear rebound dominance (45 to 29, including 16 offensive rebounds for Philadelphia), made the difference…
– The Sixers continue. This five-game “road trip” ended in the best possible way for Philadelphia, with a fifth straight victory. Without James Harden and Joel Embiid, Doc Rivers’ troops managed only 2nd place in the East (30 wins – 16 losses), taking advantage of Milwaukee’s recent slump.
✅ Maxey tires. His aggressiveness got the Sixers back into the game, and also made the difference in the end. An aggressiveness that still made him greedy (32 points on 12/29 in shooting, 6 assists).
✅ The Sixers bench. With James Harden and Joel Embiid out, Doc Rivers had minutes to give, and his replacements took advantage. If we don’t forget the impact of De’Anthony Melton and Montrezl Harrell, the contribution of the bench is decisive, outside of Danuel House Jr.’s shots. and Georges Niang, the presence on the rebound of Paul Reed or the energy of Shake Si Milton, who often found the right offsets for his teammates.
✅ De’Aaron Fox. He led the way in the final quarter as his team floundered offensively. His 14 points (out of 31) in the final act almost saved the Kings.
✅⛔️ Harrison Barnes. It’s a bit difficult because he still has 27 points. It was that with his 17 points on 5/6 from long range in the first half, he epitomized Sacramento’s offensive strength when outside shots fell to it. Much less verve after half-time, with bricks from distance and this missed throw that hurt.
⛔️ Malik Monk. He’s clearly not in a good time, and when he gets (and misses) those kinds of forced, out-of-collective shots, he doesn’t help much for Mike Brown.
⛔️ Matisse Thybulle. A mention for his foul on Harrison Barnes on the 3-pointer that offered the equalizer to his opponent. Admittedly, the referees were generous with the Sacramento winger but Matisse Thybulle continued to take reckless defensive risks in decisive possessions.
Sacramento (26-19): The Kings continue against the Grizzlies, Monday night (4:30 am), still at home
Philadelphia (30-16): return home to challenge the Nets, Wednesday night (1:30 am)