Patrick Beverley nearly led the Sixers to an unlikely win Friday night in Boston with three starters sidelined, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Playing without Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, who both missed the game due to illness, and Nicolas Batum, who was ruled out shortly before game time with a hyperextended right index finger, Philadelphia was able to hang around and almost pull out a road victory.
“Well, I think the biggest positive is I thought we outplayed them,” coach Nick Nurse said. “I thought we outplayed them. We gave ourselves a chance to win. We didn’t get many good bounces there the last two, three minutes of the game.”
The Sixers got a much-needed lift from Beverley, the veteran guard who was signed this summer to upgrade the defense and provide fiery leadership. Beverley did a little bit of everything on Friday, sinking 10 of 15 shots and delivering season highs with 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. He said he doesn’t alter his approach when his high-scoring teammates aren’t available.
“I don’t think my mindset really changes,” Beverley said. “I want to go out there and try to impact the game, impact winning.”
There’s more on the Sixers:
- Marcus Morris is one of the few players who have been on both sides of the Celtics-Sixers rivalry, Pompey notes in a separate story. Morris is still a fan favorite in Boston, but the North Philadelphia native was thrilled to return home as part of the James Harden trade last month. “Philly is my hometown,” he said. “So playing for the Sixers is everything. My time here in Boston was great. The fans here were great. I loved playing here. But if there was a side I had to choose, it would be Philly.”
- Embiid’s absence allowed third-string center Mohamed Bamba to play nearly 20 minutes and post season highs with 11 points and six rebounds, Pompey states in another piece. Bamba told reporters he feels like he has “a raw deal” in Philadelphia after signing as a free agent this summer, but he tries to be ready when opportunities arise. “It’s not easy to do,” he said of not playing regularly. “People think you’re not playing, you should be able to come in if you’re healthy and be ready to go. But a lot of basketball is having rhythm, having that continuity with the guys you’re out there with. I think being out there is a big part of it. But these guys make it easy for me to come in.”
- Friday marked the first time this season the Sixers were able to remain competitive without Embiid, following blowouts in the previous two games he missed, Pompey adds. “The last couple of games without Embiid, we felt like we were really soft all together,” Morris said. “We were trying to make it a point with this game with Embiid on the court or without him on the court to come out and be aggressive and play aggressive, even if we are not making shots.”