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Things haven't gone the Philadelphia 76ers' way lately. Last week, they wrapped up a three-game homestand with nothing but losses. When they kicked off their six-game road trip in Indiana against the Pacers, they made it four losses in a row. Then when they faced the Utah Jazz, they suffered their worst loss of the year.

All of these games had something in common -- the Sixers didn't have their four-time All-Star Joel Embiid on the floor. As the big man was entered into the NBA's health and safety protocol last Monday, he missed Philly's previous five games going into Thursday night's matchup against the Denver Nuggets.

Then, his absence on Thursday made it six in a row. With Embiid's absence, the Sixers needed some life from the center position on Thursday, considering they were facing the reigning MVP Nikola Jokic. Unfortunately, Sixers veteran Andre Drummond found himself landing in foul trouble early on in the game.

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Therefore, Doc Rivers decided to offer the rookie second-round pick, Charles Bassey, some minutes early on, and the former Western Kentucky standout took advantage of every opportunity during his 19 minutes on the floor.

Getting up seven shots, Bassey drained five of his field-goal attempts for a career-high of 12 points. He also knocked down two of his three free throws and collected four of his seven total rebounds on the offensive end. Then on the defensive end, he snagged a steal and had three impressive blocks. When the night was all said and done, Bassey finished the game as a plus-20 in the Sixers' 103-89 win over Denver.

"It felt good," said Bassey after the game. "I knew coming into the game, of course, we're missing (Joel Embiid), so I knew coming to this trip, I knew my time was going to come. It was a matter of just getting ready and just watching film with coach. Just watching (Andre Drummond), knowing what he's doing and when my time comes, just going in there and doing my job. It showed today."

The 76ers collectively had a solid performance on Thursday night, but Bassey's ability to create such an impact on the floor against last year's MVP gave life to a struggling 76ers team. While they still have a tough road ahead of them, an unlikely shorthanded victory against a team as good as the Nuggets should boost Bassey and his team's confidence moving forward.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.