The Philadelphia 76ers knew what they were getting themselves into going into Saturday’s matchup with the Golden State Warriors. Steph Curry is still on a mission to pass Ray Allen for the most 3-pointers in NBA history and in order to stop him, it takes a ton to slow him down.
Curry shot just 6-for-20 and he was only 3-for-14 from deep on his way to 18 points for the game. Thybulle blocked two of his shots and he harassed the 2-time MVP all night long on Philadephia’s way to an impressive win.
“He was amazing,” said Joel Embiid. “I’ve been saying it since he got here. He’s probably the best perimeter defender in the league and I think he has a shot to win the Defensive Player of the Year.”
Thybulle definitely built a case for the award on Saturday night on national television, but even he was shocked at how well he defended Curry on this night.
“Playing hard?” Thybulle laughed. “No, seriously just having guys willing to let me take on that one-on-one matchup and play the rest of the team 4-on-4 and for me to be able to over-rotate and, honestly, get into a lot of really tough rotation situations on defense and put out a lot of fires to allow me to just stay close to the body and not let Steph get anything easy.”
The Warriors are a team that will use a ton of picks and double screens and things of that nature in order to make sure Curry gets open. For Thybulle to have to battle through all of that and be able to make life miserable for Curry is impressive enough.
“He was great,” said coach Doc Rivers. “I’m a coach. I’m not sitting there impressed. I’m just sitting there getting him to do his job. Matisse was phenomenal. How many picks did he have to fight through tonight and keep going? Getting hit, getting hipped, getting butt picks, and he just kept doing it.”
Even with not being a huge part of the offense, he kept his head in it and he was able to make that big of an effort on defense.
“That’s what he does,” said Andre Drummond. “He’s a great defender. When it’s time to step up and make a play in big moments, he’s always there when we need him. He played a helluva game defensively regardless of not seeing the ball offensively. He knew his assignment today. He killed it.”
A ton of credit has to go to Thybulle for not getting too down on himself when Curry was able to shake free and knock down a couple of big shots. He kept his head in it and he stayed with him all night long in order for Philadelphia to have success on the defensive end of the floor.
“There’s like no secrets to guarding people like that,” Thybulle added. “It’s just you got to play really hard, you got to be willing to get scored on, and he’s gonna make some spectacular plays, and you have to be able to play through that, and just trying to be a consistent force, and not let his success take you on a roller coaster.”
The Sixers will now head back on the road to take on the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.