Sixers impressed with Matisse Thybulle’s defense against Bulls star Zach LaVine

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Ky Carlin
·3 min read
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The Philadelphia 76ers won a game on Friday night over the Chicago Bulls thanks to the greatness of Joel Embiid, but they also received a lot of help from Matisse Thybulle once again. Without the services of Ben Simmons for a second straight night, Thybulle earned the start and he had to take on Zach LaVine.

LaVine came into the night averaging 28.5 points and shooting 52.0% from the floor and 43.7% from deep, but Thybulle led an effort that held him to just 9-for-28 shooting. That is a key factor in being able to escape with the win on Friday.

“Matisse is like the secret sauce tonight,” said coach Doc Rivers. “People are gonna look at his line and they’re not gonna see much. He had two points, but he was so huge tonight defensively. When you can get away with not double teaming Zach Lavine the game, which helps your defense all around the floor, it makes you a much better defensive team.”

Thybulle has routinely come in and played a role in shutting down the team’s best player and Friday night was no different. He made a big impact in a Jan. 9 win over the Sacramento Kings as he shut down De’Aaron Fox and he did the same against LaVine.

“I said the other night that he has a chance to be the best perimeter defensive player in the league and he showed that tonight,” said Embiid. “Zach is a great player, he’s been fantastic all year. I think he should be an All-Star, he deserves it. By looking at the stat sheet, I see. 9-for-28, and that’s all Matisse.”

A big part of why Philadelphia was able to slow him down was that Thybulle kept funneling him towards the paint. He used his length and his defensive instincts to be able to send LaVine towards Embiid who did have four blocks on the night.

“Our whole thing was funnel him down, funnel him down, Matisse did that,” said Rivers. “I thought his length bothered him a couple of times. LaVine made one tough 3 late, but overall, but on that 3, we told Matisse, make him beat you off the dribble, funnel him to Joel stay on the size, use your length, and Joel was there.”

LaVine is one of the bigger matchups in the league as a guy who can just go off on the offensive end at any moment. Considering how terrific of a defender Thybulle is, it is understandable that he would want to really get up for a matchup such as this one.

“You saw full display of what he is capable of doing,” said Tobias Harris. “We’ve been seeing it all year and I think he definitely gets up for the bigger matchups with guys that are rolling. He’s everywhere on the floor defensively, he’s got such quick hands to be able to get in guys’ space, and cause havoc.”

The Sixers will now get ready to hit the road to face the Toronto Raptors in Tampa on Sunday.

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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