By Tommy Matthews
Joel EmbIid had 16 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for his fifth career triple-double and the Sixers never trailed in beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 115-96.
Tobias Harris hit his first seven shots and scored 23 points, including 16 points in 16 minutes in the first half to help the 76ers take a 69-43 lead.
“I realized I didn’t miss a shot in the first half and then I came out in the second half and missed my first shot so that was done with,” Harris said.
“In the second half, we were a little slow and sluggish, but in the fourth quarter, I thought we had more energy and life to get stops and close out the game the way that we wanted. When you’re up like that and have that type of cushion you can get a little relaxed.”
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With James Harden sitting out because of injury management on his right foot, Shake Milton got the start and scored 18 points. DeAnthony Melton added 17 points. Their production, along with Harris’ hot start impressed Sixers coach Doc Rivers.
“It was big for us. It set the tone. Especially the way we played last night, getting the cushion helped us,” Rivers said.
We had lost two in a row. Our team doesn’t like that. We knew we were missing guys so I think our guys had the proper amount of fear going into this game. That’s a good thing.”