NBA Hoops

Joel Embiid returns to lead Sixers over Thunder at home

Joel Embiid returns to lead Sixers over Thunder at home

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia 76ers welcomed superstar Joel Embiid back to the lineup on Tuesday as they played host to the Oklahoma City Thunder looking to get back on track a bit. The big fella hadn’t played in a game since Jan. 30 and the Sixers needed him back on the floor in order to find a rhythm again with a full squad.

Philadelphia was missing Tyrese Maxey for a second consecutive game, but OKC was missing star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as well as rising star Jalen Williams. The Sixers definitely had some rust to work through with Embiid back on the floor, but they were able to work through all of that in order to walk away with a much-needed 109-105 victory. Embiid had 24 points, seven assists, and six rebounds in his return to the floor.

Kelly Oubre Jr. had 25 points and six rebounds, Tobias Harris had 18 points and five rebounds, Cam Payne had 10 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists, and Paul Reed added 12 and nine rebounds. Buddy Hield had seven off the bench.

Here are the player grades after the win:

It appears as if Lowry and Embiid were in sync in this one. Lowry hit the big fella with a pocket pass in the lane which led to a smooth jumper for Embiid and Lowry was able to just run some offense in this one. He didn’t look for his own offense as much, but with Embiid back, the Sixers don’t need Lowry to score much. He just needs to take advantage of the looks he does get within the offense. Not an overly impactful game, but he didn’t hurt the team either.

Once again filling in for Maxey, Payne did a little bit of everything for the Sixers in this one. He stuffed the box score as he was contributing on the glass and with his passing as well as his shooting and scoring on the offensive end. He looks for his offense and that is going to be vital for this team off the bench in the postseason. Not an efficient game for him in this one, but he was aggressive with his offense and gave Philadelphia good production.

This was a nice defensive game for Oubre. He was active on that end of the floor and was able to bother the Thunder out on the perimeter to help the Sixers on that end. On the offensive end, he was taking jumpers early and he was struggling to find a rhythm in this one. He has got to attack the rim early in games and see the ball go through before he settles for jumpers. Rhythm is a key for Oubre at all times. He did get some important…

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