This one was a dud.
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Another Herculean effort from Joel Embiid wasn’t enough for the Sixers to win the second half of a back-to-back Thursday at home against the undermanned Blazers.
Facing a Portland team without Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, Derrick Jones Jr. and Nassir Little, the Sixers lost 121-105 to fall to 16-7 on the season.
It was a weird game for the Sixers.
They didn’t make a three until the 6:23 mark of the third quarter, finishing 7 of 27 beyond the arc.
Embiid tied the franchise record for points in a quarter with 25 in the second, yet the Sixers didn’t lead by more than a point at any time after the first four minutes of the game.
The Blazers began the second half on a 13-0 run and never looked back. The Sixers were outscored by 21 points in the third, their largest deficit in any third quarter since Nov. 18, 2017 against the Warriors.
Curry sits out second half
Seth Curry went scoreless for the second straight night and spent the second half in the locker room with an illness.
Curry, who was out from Jan. 7 through Jan. 21 with COVID-19, has struggled of late and said earlier this week that he's just trying to get his energy back.
He’s 10 for 36 (28%) over his last six games, averaging 5.0 points.
Simmons a late scratch
Ben Simmons missed the game with left calf tightness. He was scratched at 6:15 p.m. after participating in the Sixers' walkthrough and being listed as probable earlier in the day. Head coach Doc Rivers did not seem too concerned about Simmons pregame.
The Sixers went with a starting five of Curry, Furkan Korkmaz, Danny Green, Tobias Harris and Embiid.
Embiid ended up with 37 points on 14-for-21 from the field and 9-of-9 from the line. It was his sixth game this season with at least 37 points and in those six games, he's averaged just 19.5 shots.
It was a turn-back-the-clock performance for Carmelo Anthony (22 points) and a big game for Enes Kanter (17 points, 18 rebounds) that has become commonplace against the Sixers.
The Sixers' next game is Saturday at home against the Nets. It will be their first meeting with the Kevin Durant-James Harden-Kyrie Irving Nets, though it's the second game of a back-to-back for Brooklyn so Durant might not play. The Nets are on national TV the night before, and Durant has played both ends of a back-to-back just once this season, on a night the Nets didn't have the other two stars.
From there, they go on a weeklong West Coast road trip with visits to Sacramento, Portland, Phoenix and Utah.