Sixers Nearly Blow Big Lead, Hang on to Beat Rockets
A win is a win.
The fourth quarter wasn’t pretty, but the Sixers were able to snap their three-game losing streak with a 118-113 win over the Rockets at the Wells Fargo Center Wednesday night. The win improves the Sixers to 19-10, good for a 1 ½ game lead over the Nets for the top spot in the East.
Ben Simmons (illness) and Shake Milton (left ankle sprain) were out. Houston was down Christian Wood, Victor Oladipo and P.J. Tucker.
The Sixers were hot early and led by as much as 29 in the first half. Thanks to strong three-point shooting led by Seth Curry (25 points) and Matisse Thybulle (four steals) again leading the team’s 2-3 zone, the Sixers took a 69-43 lead into the locker room at the half.
Curry did have a brief injury scare, coming out of the game in the first quarter after appearing to injure his right hand. After having his fingers taped in the locker room, Curry return to the floor in the second quarter.
After putting up just nine points in the first half, Joel Embiid picked it up in the third quarter, dropping 12 of his game-high 31 points in the period. Embiid, who missed Monday’s game in Utah with back tightness, appeared to be bothered by his back throughout the contest. The All-Star big man finished with 31 points, 11 rebounds and came up just an assist shy of a triple-double.
But that wasn’t enough for the Sixers to maintain their torrid play as John Wall and the Rockets kept coming. Wall scored 26 of his 28 points in the second half and Houston scored 70 points as a team after halftime. The Rockets cut the Sixers' lead to as low as four in the fourth quarter.
The Sixers committed 20 turnovers, a big factor in Houston cutting what was once a huge deficit. The absence of Simmons combined with the team coming off a brutal four-game West Coast swing were likely factors.
The Sixers were able to hang on and seal the win in large part thanks to Tobias Harris (24 points, 15 rebounds, five assists) and Embiid’s efforts down the stretch.
The Sixers play another game at home Friday against All-Star hopeful Zach LaVine and the Bulls. LaVine is coming off a 37-point performance in a win over the Pistons Wednesday and is averaging over 28 points a game for the season.