The Sixers opened Monday night’s game in Sacramento without Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, Seth Curry, and Danny Green. The entire starting lineup was out, a combination of COVID protocols, injury, and a pitiful and lingering hold out.

So Doc Rivers rolled out a group of Tyrese Maxey, Georges Niang, Andre Drummond, Furkan Korkmaz, and Matisse Thybulle. He got quality bench minutes from Shake Milton and Isaiah Joe, while Charles Bassey showed some more flashes. His squad pulled ahead late and won a close game despite being woefully short-handed. It’s a “character” type of win, one might say.

Some quick notes:

  • The Sixers only turned the ball over seven times (tied for lowest number of the year)
  • They blocked five shots and ripped off nine steals (second highest steal number this season).
  • They grabbed 11 offensive rebounds.
  • Add up those first three bullets and it amounts to a 85-79 field goal disparity in the Sixers’ favor.
  • They didn’t shoot particularly well, but supplemented 42.4% from the field and 28.1% from three with 27 trips to the foul line, which was the second-most FTA on the season. They hit 21 of those freebies.
  • Sacramento was hitting jack shit from the field. They shot 16-50 on uncontested field goals (32%) and Tyrese Haliburton, coming off a 17-point performance on Saturday, went 0-5 from the floor and finished with a donut on the score sheet.

Maxey led the Sixers with 24 points while Milton added 16, but Thybulle was right behind them with 15, and it’s great to have him back. He shot 6-8 from the floor and did most of his damage slashing and cutting:

You think most of Thybulle’s growth is going to come in the catch-and-shoot three point game, but he’s always shown flashes of being a brilliant cutter. He went 1-3 from three in this game, and has work to do there, but he was a menace getting to the rim on Monday night, and getting out into transition off of steals.

This is the type of shot chart that will make the analytics guys happy. They’ll mint this as a NFT and make it their profile picture:

Milton was the only other player to shoot at least 50%. Early on, he had some good reads coming around Drummond screens, then he took a couple of tough midrange looks and got some of those to fall in the fourth quarter:

Some of those were a little janky looking, but he got enough of them to fall. Good Shake game off the bench.

It looks like the Sixers are going to win two of six on this road trip. That is honestly pretty damn good, considering how depleted they are. No Embiid, no Simmons, Harris and Curry not available on Monday night, etc. They are 10-8 and staying afloat during an incredibly difficult time.