In today's newsletter:
- Thoughts on last night's game.
- The stat that mattered.
- They said it.
- Where things stand.
- Press conference audio.
- Link roundup.
The ups and downs of an NBA season are strange, and can catch even long-time fans and reporters by surprise from time to time.
In the past 48 hours the Sixers put all their eggs into winning the first half of this back-to-back, playing Embiid and Harden Sunday night against the (then) 39-31 Toronto Raptors, who were playing without Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby. The Sixers got smoked, putting in one of their worst offensive performances, and one of their most disinterested efforts on the glass, of the season.
They then returned back to the Wells Fargo Center less than 24 hours later, this time without the services of Joel Embiid (sore back) and James Harden (hamstring injury maintenance) to take on the East-leading Miami Heat, who were 47-24 at the time. The Heat were, save for Victor Oladipo (who has played just 4 games this year) and Gabe Vincent (who kills the Sixers, but is otherwise a bit player), were at full strength, with all of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro on the floor.
The Sixers ran them out of the building in the second half.