This was one of the best back-and-forth games the NBA will see this regular season.
Unfortunately, the 76ers couldn’t close it out.
The 76ers and Pistons were in a dog fight the entire game with neither team ever having a double-digit lead.
It appeared the Sixers had a straggled hold on the game after JJ Redick hit a go-ahead three with 5.6 seconds left in overtime.
He was also fouled on the play and converted on the free throw giving the Sixers a 132-130 lead.
Redick finished with 30 points to go along with six rebounds and six assists.
But it wasn’t meant to be because Blake Griffin split two defenders and made a contested two on Robert Covington, who also fouled Griffin on the play. Griffin made the free throw with just 1.8 seconds left to give the Pistons a one-point lead.
Joel Embiid missed the game winning 3-point shot. Despite that miss, Embiid was excellent scoring 33 points and getting 14 free throw attempts. He blocked three shots and caused Andre Drummond to commit two technical fouls, getting him tossed from the game late in the fourth quarter.
Are you kidding me Blake Griffin?
The player of the game had to be Griffin who had the game of his life finishing with 50 points and 14 rebounds. He was a matchup nightmare for the 76ers.
Surprisingly the 76ers didn’t attempt to double-team him at any point in the game and allowed him to do whatever he wanted. Griffin attacked the paint earning 11 free throws, only making five of them.
He also hurt the 76ers from deep making five 3-pointers in ten shots. You have the give him a lot of credit for that awesome performance.
Trust issues with Fultz
Markelle Fultz played one of his better games as a pro. In 21 minutes, he shot 6-of-9 from the field tying a career-high with 13 points.
Fultz attacked the rim and made a wide-open three in the second quarter. But he did struggle on the defensive end defending picks and losing sight of his man away from the ball.
Most noticeable was Fultz’s absence from the game in the fourth quarter and overtime. He played the first two minutes of the fourth and sat the rest of the game. TJ McConnell replaced him as the point guard.
Understandably, head coach Brett Brown trust McConnell more than Fultz right now. Fultz has struggled defensively, and Brown is trying to win the game.
Fultz needs to see the court in those pivotal minutes. Who knows how Fultz will respond to sitting when the game is on the line. Plus, how is he supposed to develop by sitting on the bench? He hasn’t had the opportunity to prove if he can be on the court in those situations.
He doesn’t have to play the entire time but give him a few minutes in the fourth.
You’d rather see how he fares now in game four compared to later in the season when the games count even more.
At some point, Fultz may be the only option to play in those situations.
The 76ers need to forget about this game quickly because of the back-to-back tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks.
After playing 39 minutes against the Pistons, let’s see how Embiid handles the work load. He doesn’t have any minute restrictions, so we should expect Embiid to play starter’s minutes.
Ben Simmons did not play in Detroit because of back tightness. The 76ers have yet to determine if he will play against the undefeated Bucks.
Hopefully this game doesn’t haunt the 76ers down the road when it comes to playoff position. They let this game get away.
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