The Philadelphia 76ers' trend of playing shorthanded continued on Saturday night. As the Sixers made a pit stop in Portland amid their current six-game road trip out West, they faced the Trail Blazers for the second time this season.
When the Sixers and the Blazers met earlier this month, Philly was shorthanded as they missed their star center Joel Embiid. However, the Sixers found a way to put the Blazers away despite missing their top star.
On Saturday, the situation was similar, but the outcome was different. As the Sixers have been struggling a lot with Embiid out of the mix, they went into Saturday's game with a 1-5 record over the last six games.
Although they put up a good fight against the Blazers, the 76ers fell short and took on a 118-111 loss in Portland. With that loss, they move to 9-8 on the year as their tough stretch continues. With Saturday's game in the rearview, let's observe individual player performances from the Sixers.
Doc Rivers didn't want to overthink it with the starting lineup on Saturday night. After they found success with Georges Niang playing with the starters on Thursday, the Sixers veteran picked up his second-straight start. Once again, Niang put on a solid performance as he collected 15 points in 35 minutes. Although the Sixers struggled from beyond the arc, Niang knocked down 50-percent of his six attempts.
With Embiid out and Ben Simmons' return to the court unclear, Harris is expected to do a lot more than he typically would. He hasn't been perfect, but the veteran forward did all he could on Saturday night as he dropped 28 points and collected eight rebounds in 36 minutes. It's tough to throw criticism his way after he helped lead the team in scoring, but Harris has to take better care of the ball as he committed five of Philly's 11 turnovers on Saturday.
The veteran center had another quiet night on Saturday. Although he drained all of his field-goal attempts, Drummond accounted for just six points in 23 minutes. This year, he's dominated in the rebounding department, but he had just eight boards against Portland.
The veteran sharpshooter has had better nights. After bouncing back and having a stellar outing on Thursday, Curry struggled in Portland on Saturday. Getting up ten shots, he knocked down just three of his attempts. In addition to his cold shooting night, Curry also picked up five fouls and turned the ball over three times.
If Tyrese Maxey's continued development weren't getting put on display, the Sixers would be extremely tough to watch during this current seven-game stretch. Once again, the young guard showed fearlessness, improvement as an all-around point guard, and high energy as he put up a team-high of 28 points and nine assists in 35 minutes on Saturday night.
For the first time since November 4, Matisse Thybulle returned to the court for the Sixers. Over the last couple of weeks, the third-year defensive ace has been in the NBA's health and safety protocol. Making his return on Saturday, Thybulle checked in for a little over 20 minutes. As expected, his defense was stellar. Offensively, he was decent as he collected nine points off of five shots.
Milton's minutes have been a roller coaster this season. Against the Blazers, he didn't get a long shift as he checked in for 16 minutes. His performance on Saturday wasn't a memorable one as he accounted for just six minutes off the bench.
The cold streak continued for the Turkish guard/forward on Saturday. The good news was Korkmaz didn't try to force too many shots as he continues to struggle from the field. The bad news is that with the four shots he took -- not a single one went in. Korkmaz finished the night with zero points and once again looked like a guy who might play himself out of the rotation if his struggles continue.
Coming off of his career-best performance, Bassey was quietly solid on Saturday night. As he picked up a little under 15 minutes of action, Bassey made both of his attempted shots and 2-2 from the free-throw line. He finished the night with six points, six rebounds, and a blocked shot.