Another scrimmage without Joel Embiid available called for another Philadelphia 76ers starting lineup involving Al Horford. The Sixers were in the same predicament this past Sunday as Embiid has been dealing with discomfort in his right calf. Without the three-time All-Star healthy and available, guys like Horford, Tobias Harris, and Ben Simmons were expected to step up these last two scrimmages.
On Sunday, all three aforementioned players had themselves a game against the Thunder. On Tuesday, the three of them started the game off looking rough, however. After playing two-quarters worth of hoops, the Sixers trailed the Mavericks 48-39. Simmons and Horford totaled for just seven points, as Harris carried the Sixers on his back throughout the first two quarters after a slow start.
When the second half rolled around, Brett Brown decided he's seen enough out of Simmons these last few scrimmages and opted to keep him out for the rest of the night to avoid any fatigue or injuries before the season's restart. Knowing that Harris was rolling, and Horford could use some more reps, though, the Sixers' head coach decided to keep the veteran starters in the game for some of the third quarter.
As it turns out, Brown's bold decision paid off as Harris and Horford dominated Dallas in the third quarter. As a team, the Sixers shot under 30-percent from the field during the first two quarters. When they came out for the second half, though, Philly knocked down 60-percent of their shots from the field as Horford and Harris combined for 23 points bringing the Sixers back to life.
Brown, as expected, took Harris and Horford out of the game just before the third quarter concluded. As the team's reserves came in to finish the job, strong fourth-quarter performances from Mike Scott, Kyle O'Quinn, and Matisse Thybulle allowed the Sixers to partake in a grudge match with the Mavs, which eventually led to overtime.
Unfortunately for Philly, they failed to come out on top and fell short to Dallas losing the game, 118-115. All in all, though, Brett Brown and the 76ers can head into the season's restart feeling confident in the team based on what's been put on display through the three scrimmage games over the last few days.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_