The Philadelphia 76ers improved to 5-0 to retain the best record in the league with a 129-128 win over the Portland Trailblazers. Portland led the game for 47 minutes and […]
The Philadelphia 76ers improved to 5-0 to retain the best record in the league with a 129-128 win over the Portland Trailblazers. Portland led the game for 47 minutes and 50 seconds, but Philadelphia won in dramatic fashion, sealing the game on a go-ahead three-pointer from Furkan Korkmaz in the game’s final seconds.
The 76ers came into the matchup as the league’s only undefeated team at 4-0. All-Star Joel Embiid missed the matchup as a part of his suspension for his fight with Karl Anthony-Towns.
The Trailblazers came out strong at home, leading 32-27 after the first quarter. By halftime, Portland opened up an 11-point lead, with a score of 68-57. From the opening tip until halftime, the 76ers did not lead once.
Portland had narrow edges in some key categories like team field goal percentage (54% to 43%,) three-pointers made (10 to 7) and turnovers forced (6 to 5.) But the Trailblazers biggest advantage came at the free throw line, where they connected on 12 of 14 attempts. The 76ers only had two free throws on two attempts.
Rodney Hood paced the Trailblazers at the half with 20 points (7-9 FG, 4-6 3PT.) Philadelphia employed a balanced attack with Al Horford (5-13 FG,) Tobia Harris (4-6 FG,) and Ben Simmons (5-9 FG) carrying the bulk of the production.
By the beginning of the fourth quarter, the 76ers had cut Portland’s lead to eight, and then six… and then four. Philadelphia came storming back, finding ways to score without the benefit of having the super-talented Embiid in the paint.
With four minutes to play, a Jason Richardson three-pointer cut the Trailblazers lead to just three points, their narrowest margin since the first quarter.
Simmons was sent to the free throw line with ten seconds to go, and although Portland would challenge the foul call, it was upheld and the point guard would nail both his free throws. This gave the 76ers their first lead of the game: 126-125 with 10.1 seconds left to play.
On the next possession, the ball was in Damian Lillard’s hands as expected. But as he drove down the lane, he kicked it out to 20-year-old Anfernee Simons who nailed a clutch three-pointer that would appear to be the game-winner: putting the Trailblazers up 128-126 with 2.2 seconds to play.
Simmons in-bounded the ball to Furkan Korkmaz who nailed a three of his own to regain the lead for Philadelphia. It was a storybook ending to cap an incredible 76ers comeback.
Al Horford led the team in scoring with 25 points to go along with 7 assists and 5 rebounds. Tobias Harris finished with 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Philadelphia outscored Portland 37-26 en route to a 21-point road comeback. This 76ers team is for real, dangerous, and is finding ways to win even with their best player on the sideline.
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Header photo: Matt Rourke/Associated Press