76ers

Late-game stumble sends Sixers to crushing overtime loss to Blake Griffin, Pistons

Late-game stumble sends Sixers to crushing overtime loss to Blake Griffin, Pistons

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Admit it: the Sixers had you fooled.

When JJ Redick absorbed a foul and still made that rainbow three-pointer to take a lead over the Detroit Pistons with 5.6 seconds remaining in overtime, you thought things would be different. For a moment, you forgot just how much the Sixers struggle to finish off close games.

And then it all came crashing down as Blake Griffin rumbled through the lane and finished through Robert Covington’s contact for the and-one. Griffin tacked on the free throw of his career-high 50-point night to hand the Sixers a thrilling, yet gut-wrenching, 133-132 loss (see observations).

“It was a great game. You think it was a fantastic game for fans to watch,” Brett Brown told reporters. “You’re going to learn a lot more when you can actually sit down and see the tape.”

What the Sixers will learn from looking at the game film is that old habits die hard as their late-game struggles creeped up yet again.

The Sixers were 4-7 in regular-season games decided by three points or less a season ago. That trend continued in the postseason when they dropped two games within that margin during their series loss to the Boston Celtics.

The Sixers almost met a similar fate their last time out against the Orlando Magic before they ultimately survived at home. But on this night, against a better opponent, the team wasn’t able to outrun one of its major flaws.

The final defensive sequence to cap Tuesday night’s breakdown consisted of several mistakes. Brown made the questionable decision of having Amir Johnson in the game at that moment. Then somehow both Johnson and Joel Embiid bit on a fake dribble handoff move from Griffin. The trifecta was complete when Covington challenged Griffin at the rim only to foul the high-flying forward.

All of this even though the Sixers knew exactly what was coming.

“The last play, when Blake scored, that’s what we knew they were going to run,” former Griffin teammate Redick said. “We just did a poor job defensively executing that. That was what we drew up in the huddle. We said this is what they’re gonna run. We’ve got to be better there.”

The Sixers have been saying for a while they need to get better in the final moments of tight games. Maybe one day their actions will follow suit.

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Matisse Thybulle, Jonah Bolden and T.J. McConnell are vacationing together during All-Star break

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Matisse Thybulle, Jonah Bolden and T.J. McConnell are vacationing together during All-Star break

Though the NBA All-Star festivities have officially come to an end, the Sixers aren’t set to play again for another three nights. When you’re an avid sports fan, that seems like an eternity.

What are Sixers fans supposed to do during this break while they wait for their favorite team to get back in action?

I suggest a daily dose of wholesome content.

Today's edition of wholesome content comes from a place of warmer weather, with Sixers old and new vacationing together.

That's right, Matisse Thybulle is currently on vacation with former Sixers T.J. McConnell and Jonah Bolden. The past and present of fan favorites have come together to enjoy the little break in their hectic schedules.

And by the look of things, they're definitely enjoying themselves with ... whatever they're doing here.

And when the players are on the court, fans care about their shoe choice  — so the same should apply off the court, right?

With that being said, Thybulle went with a white croc and is rockin' them. One might even say ... crockin' them. Yes, I actually wrote that.

Anyways, the Sixers are back in action Thursday night when they host the Nets. Then and only then will the bad puns stop ... maybe.

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The fun Joel Embiid-Ben Simmons moment you might've missed during All-Star Game in Chicago

The fun Joel Embiid-Ben Simmons moment you might've missed during All-Star Game in Chicago

There’s been a lot made of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons’ fit on the court. In the past, there have been rumblings of the pair not necessarily getting along off it.

During All-Star Weekend in Chicago, the pair seemed to get along swimmingly.

But there was this fun moment we likely all missed initially.

While it’s true that they’re very different people and may not be best friends, it seems like they have a mutual respect and admiration for one another.

Both players shined throughout the night. Simmons (17 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals) put on a show during his first run, dunking everything in sight. Team Giannis basically ran their offense through Embiid (22 points, 10 rebounds, one ridiculous Dream Shake on LeBron) down the stretch.

Their chemistry appears to be growing. That could only help the Sixers as they look to go on a run in the final 27 games after the All-Star break.

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