There’s free basketball, and then there’s triple overtime.
The Sixers lost in triple (count it, one, two, three) overtime to the Thunder, 119-117. Patrick Patterson blocked JJ Redick’s attempt at a game-winning three-pointer in the final seconds to seal the win Friday at the Wells Fargo Center.
Joel Embiid reached his goal of playing 48 minutes, albeit after regulation. Ben Simmons and Redick each clocked over 50.
The Sixers played beyond regulation for the second straight game. The last time they reached triple overtime was Nov. 20, 1992, against the Heat.
• So what exactly can Embiid do in 48 minutes? Well, 34 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two monster blocks. Embiid fell hard twice in the third quarter but stayed in the game in spite of his recent back injury. He missed last Sunday’s game because of back tightness. Embiid got in the mix with Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams throughout the game. He waved goodbye when Adams fouled out.
• Russell Westbrook recorded his 10th triple-double of the season and 89th of his career with 27 points, 18 rebounds and 15 assists in 52 minutes. Westbrook shot 0 for 7 in the fourth as the Sixers closed out regulation on an 11-0 run. He scored six of the Thunder’s eight points in triple overtime. Westbrook’s biggest highlight of the game, from a Sixers fan’s perspective, happened when he missed a pair of free throws in the third. An opponent going 0 for 2 from the line means everyone in attendance gets a free Wendy’s Frosty.
• Just like in Tuesday’s game, Simmons was quiet through three quarters. However, he made shots when they counted, including a game-tying dunk from Embiid (his assist partner against the Timberwolves) with 53.1 seconds to go. Simmons closed in on a triple-double with 12 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds (see highlights).
• Anthony (24 points) turned back the clock the night before his return to Madison Square Garden. Anthony, who isn’t hesitant to throw up 20 shot attempts (and imagine how many he would have gone for in triple OT with the Knicks), was an effective 11 for 17 from the field in 47 minutes. He is averaging 6.5 field goals made per game in his first season with the Thunder.
• Trevor Booker suffered a sprained left ankle in the third and did not return to the game. X-rays came back negative, so it’s a wait-and-see situation as to whether the newly acquired reserve misses any time.
• Robert Covington’s shooting performance in regulation was cold like the weather outside. He shot 4 for 21 from the field (3 for 15 from three) in his first game since taking a nasty fall on his back last Saturday in Cleveland.
Have to wonder how much he was impacted by the snow delays. Covington’s commute took more than twice as long and he arrived to the arena about an hour before game time. Players are very routine and Covington didn't get to warm up for as long he as he normally does. This, of course, is not an excuse. But this isn’t the first time a player has had an off night after being delayed. Covington ended up with an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double.