In Philadelphia, the 76ers faced off against the Phoenix Suns with hopes of extending their four-game winning streak. Even though the Suns were without star guards Devin Booker and Bradley Beal, they presented a formidable challenge, led by Kevin Durant’s impressive 31-point performance. Nonetheless, it was the outstanding contributions of Joel Embiid and Kelly Oubre Jr. that secured a 112-100 victory for the Sixers.
Embiid, the reigning NBA MVP, supplied 26 points and 11 rebounds in another stellar performance. He made his presence felt throughout the game, and by the fourth quarter, he was even able to watch the action unfold from the bench as the Sixers maintained their lead.
However, it was Kelly Oubre Jr., the former Kansas Jayhawk, who stole the spotlight. Oubre scored 25 points, including 17 in the first half, showcasing his scoring ability and athleticism. Joel Embiid praised Oubre, saying, “He’s athletic and can put the ball on the floor and shoot. It’s that simple.”
With Bradley Beal sidelined due to back spasms and Devin Booker nursing a sprained left ankle, the Suns faced an uphill battle. Despite their struggles, Kevin Durant did his best to keep Phoenix in the game, dropping 31 points, including an impressive 12-of-14 free throws.
Tyrese Maxey, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Saturday, contributed 22 points and 10 assists, playing a pivotal role in the Sixers’ victory. Meanwhile, Tobias Harris added 18 points and 10 rebounds, providing valuable support for the team.
While Embiid and Maxey had a slow start, shooting just 7 of 23 from the floor in the first half, the Sixers found stability in the form of Harris and Oubre. Harris, often criticized for not living up to his hefty $180 million contract, showed his value. Meanwhile, Oubre, signed on a one-year deal worth $2.9 million, continued to prove his worth with his third 20-point game of the season.
After a stressful offseason, Oubre explained, “I had a lot of pent-up energy for this season,” and he certainly channeled that energy into a strong performance against the Suns. He hit key shots and stretched the Sixers’ lead, ultimately contributing to the win.
In the third quarter, Oubre hit a three-pointer for a 63-51 lead, and later, he extended the lead with a three-point play. Joel Embiid, another former Jayhawk from Kansas, also made a significant contribution with a crucial three-pointer that helped the Sixers maintain their advantage.
The absence of Devin Booker and Bradley Beal undoubtedly impacted the Suns’ performance. Coach Frank Vogel acknowledged the challenges of dealing with player absences, stating, “It’s the NBA. We’ve got to get used to it. That’s how this league is. There’s going to be guys in and out of the lineup. Everybody has to stay ready and be able to toggle between roles.”
In the end, the Philadelphia 76ers secured their fourth consecutive win, with Joel Embiid and Kelly Oubre Jr. leading the way. While the Suns put up a strong fight, they couldn’t overcome the combined effort of the Sixers, who continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference.