By Annie Ross
Don’t look now but the Sixers are 40-22, three games ahead of the Celtics in fourth place in the East, just a half-game behind the Pacers for third.
And last night they ended a 19-game losing streak to the Thunder.
Tobias Harris scored 32 points and Ben Simmons (above) had a triple-double as the 76ers beat Oklahoma City 108-104, ending the NBA’s longest active winning streak by one team over another.
Harris, acquired earlier in February in a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers, posted his highest point total in eight games with the 76ers, who needed his offense because center Joel Embiid, the league’s No. 6 scorer, missed his fourth straight game with left knee soreness.
The 76ers did fine, dropping 33 assists on 42 baskets. Harris thinks they might have actually overdone it with the passing at times.
”There were a couple plays there in the fourth quarter where we could have made the simple play and we would have been fine with,” Harris said. ”But I think as a ‘we’ team, we’re just trying to feel each other out and make extra passes. Sometimes tonight, I felt we should have went for the easier play. It’s not bad, though.”
The Sixers won in Oklahoma City for the first time. The 76ers’ last victory had been at home in 2008 in the Thunder’s first visit after moving from Seattle.
Simmons finished with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists for his ninth triple-double of the season.
Russell Westbrook posted his 25th triple-double of the season with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, but he made 8 of 24 shots. Jerami Grant added 23 points for the Thunder, who lost their third straight.
Thunder forward Paul George, the league’s No. 2 scorer, sat out with soreness in his right shoulder. Thunder coach Billy Donovan said before the game that George was injured during a loss at Denver on Tuesday night.
The 76ers led by 16 in the first half and were up 60-49 at the break.
”I thought we got some good looks, we just didn’t shoot the ball particularly well in the first half,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. ”I thought when we played closer to the basket on post-ups, that helped us get back into the game.”
The Thunder cut their deficit down to two late in the third, but the 76ers handled the surge and led 86-79 heading into the fourth.
The 76ers led by two with 2.1 seconds left and barely got the ball inbounds. JJ Redick made two free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining to put the game out of reach.
”We’re getting there,” Harris said. ”Obviously, there’s still time. There’s things that we’ve still got to work on. But there were some really good spurts out there on the floor with us playing the right way.”