Doc Rivers proud of Sixers for handling business in win over Thunder

The Philadelphia 76ers entered Oklahoma City on Saturday in a bit of a trap game scenario as they took on a young Thunder squad. The Sixers were on the second night of a back-to-back following a loss on Friday in New Orleans, it was the final game of a four-game road trip, and it was New Year’s Eve.

On top of that, the Thunder are a rebuilding team who were missing key pieces such as Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Ousmane Dieng, and Aleksej Pokusevski. While the Sixers were missing James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and PJ Tucker, they still were the supremely talented team and they could have fallen into the trap.

They didn’t as Philadelphia led by as many as 33 points on Saturday on their way to an easy 115-96 win over the Thunder on the road and stop a two-game skid.

“I was just happy with how professional we-this is a back-to-back, New Year’s Eve,” coach Doc Rivers told reporters after the win. “This was a trap game in a lot of ways. They had the day off, we had guys missing, and we come out and play like that. That was terrific.”

Philadelphia received contributions from up and down the roster. Tobias Harris led Philadelphia with 23 points, Joel Embiid had 16, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists, and Shake Milton had 18. De’Anthony Melton was huge as well as he had 17 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals.

“We just really wanted to come out aggressive,” Melton told NBC Sports Philadelphia courtside after the win. “Especially, coming off a back-to-back. We knew we didn’t want the fatigue to get to us, especially losing the last one. We wanted to come out here, be aggressive from the jump, and see how the game goes from there. I feel like we did a great job with that.”

The Sixers did what they were supposed to do in this one. They shot 55.1% from the floor in the first half and they held Oklahoma City to just 36.4% as they built a 69-43 lead. The Sixers fed off their defense to get easy looks and it ultimately led to the easy win.

“I think we kind of recognized the type of defense they were trying to play early,” Milton told reports. “Coming off the pick-and-roll, heading towards the middle, they were heavily pulled in so we knew we would have some flow passes and from there, we’d be able to knock down shots or go down the rim and attack. I think that definitely helped us and also getting stops and being able to get out and run. That definitely helped our offense as well.”

The Sixers will now return home to host the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday.

List

Player grades: Tobias Harris, short-handed Sixers beat up on Thunder

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Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire