The Philadelphia 76ers returned to the court on Saturday night after a two-day break. For the first time in six games, the Sixers hosted a team at their own house. As they welcomed the Minnesota Timberwolves to Philly for the first time this season, the 76ers looked to get back on track after a rough 2-7 stretch over the last nine games.
Fortunately for Philly, they got some much-needed reinforcements. Joel Embiid, who's been battling COVID-19, returned to the court for the first time on November 6. Tobias Harris, who missed the last couple of games due to hip soreness, returned to the floor as well, and the Sixers were mostly healthy for the first time in a long time.
However, a rough first half put the Sixers behind early. As they trailed as much as 20 points in the first half, the Sixers looked down and out by halftime. But a solid second half allowed the Sixers to form a comeback and force overtime.
One overtime period wasn't enough for the Sixers and the Timberwolves. As both teams scored 13 points in five minutes, a second overtime period was required to settle the outcome of the game. The Sixers put up a good fight, but they fell short. After getting outscored 8-7 in the final five minutes, the Sixers dropped Saturday night's game and took on a 121-120 loss.
Now, let's observe individual player performances.
Saturday night wasn't Thybulle's best overall performance. He scored six points, going 3-6 from the field. While he picked up three steals and two rebounds on the defensive end, Thybulle finished the night as a minus-12.
Harris had a rough first half. After checking in 15 minutes, he took just three shots on offense and only produced two points from the free-throw line. His third-quarter performance wasn't much better, but Harris came to life in crunch time. Going into the final quarter of regulation, Harris had four points. In the fourth quarter, he collected 11 points, knocking down four of his seven shots. In total, he finished the night with 17 points. Harris will have to play a lot better in all four quarters, but at least he bounced back and helped the Sixers form their comeback.
The All-Star could've come out and had a rough game, and it would've been excused considering everything that he's been through over the last couple of weeks. But that's not Joel Embiid. Not only did he play 45 minutes in his first game back after battling COVID, but Embiid scored a game-high of 42 points. He also collected 14 rebounds, three assists, one steal, and blocked two shots. His night was spoiled with a double-overtime loss, but Embiid reminded anybody who might've forgotten that he's a dominant force on the floor.
Defensively, Curry had a rough night like many of his teammates. Offensively, he could've been a lot better. Although Curry finished the night as one of the five Sixers to notch double-digits in scoring, he drained just three of his eight three-pointers and knocked down only four of his 11 shots. Curry's been solid all season long, but unfortunately, his Saturday night performance wasn't enough to help his team squeeze out a win.
The second-year guard has had better nights. Maxey has been quite phenomenal all season long, but he struggled on Saturday. Getting up 15 shots in 43 minutes, Maxey collected just 15 points. While he had a big third quarter, Maxey struggled for the most part as he was less productive than usual and committed four turnovers.
Going into the game, Doc Rivers mentioned that Danny Green could see his minutes increase slightly. He played four more minutes than he did on Wednesday and looked decent coming off the bench. Draining four of his nine shots from the field and draining three threes, Green finished the night with 11 points. In the second half, the veteran forward was a difference-maker for Philly, but his minutes restriction might've held the Sixers back a bit on Saturday.
Aside from his tip-in to force double overtime, Andre Drummond had a forgettable night. His game-saving shot in the first overtime period was the only basket he attempted all night. In 12 minutes of action, Drummond was a minus-10. Offensively, he was hardly a factor, and defensively, he struggled to make stops.
After a hot start to the year, Georges Niang has cooled down a bit lately. As he resumed his role coming off the bench once again, Niang checked in for 22 minutes on Saturday. He shot 2-5 from the field and collected six points.
With Shake Milton out, Furkan Korkmaz played some backup point guard. Considering he showed some solid flashes playing the backup point early on in the year, Saturday was an excellent opportunity for Korkmaz to play out of his recent funk. He had an OK first half as he collected seven points in ten minutes. But then he went scoreless in the second half, which led to him staying off the court in both overtimes. If Korkmaz's struggles continue, he might play himself out of Philly's rotation.