Nuggets aim to end Sixers' unbeaten home mark
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The Philadelphia 76ers will attempt to remain undefeated at home when they host the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday.
The Sixers improved to 12-0 at home with a 110-104 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. Philadelphia held on despite committing 11 turnovers in the fourth quarter and seeing the Raptors go on a late surge.
Tobias Harris scored 26 points, rookie Matisse Thybulle added a career-best 20 and Ben Simmons had 16 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
Every home win during the run hasn't been picturesque, but the Sixers simply continue to grind out victories at Wells Fargo Center. Philadelphia also has won six of its past seven games overall.
"I think we're getting different nights from different guys that are stepping up," Harris said following the Sunday game. "Ben (on Saturday against the Cleveland Cavaliers) was just dominant, and I think everyone was flowing off of that (Saturday). Today, we just came out to get another win, and we look to do that next home game."
All-Star center Joel Embiid struggled Sunday and was benched in the fourth quarter by coach Brett Brown. Embiid committed seven turnovers but did contribute 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
"I think that his energy and his presence tonight was good," Brown said of Embiid. "At the end, they pressed and he had some rough decisions. It's unfortunate because for the large part of the game, he's one of the main reasons we won. It won't jump out to you on the statsheet, but it's Joel Embiid and his length. You can feel his presence really affected their rim work."
Thybulle knocked down five 3-pointers and helped carry the Sixers on a night Embiid was off. The University of Washington product has hardly looked like a rookie in recent games.
"I think I'm incredibly blessed," Thybulle said. "I'm so grateful, and to have the guys that we have on this team and to have the opportunity that I have is nothing short of a blessing."
The Nuggets, who already defeated the Sixers earlier this season in Denver, enter play Tuesday having lost four of their past five games.
Denver fell 105-102 on the road against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday as Jamal Murray missed a potential game-tying 3-point attempt as time expired. Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 24 points, 11 rebounds and six assists while Murray added 21 points.
Jokic averages a double-double (16.1 points and 10.1 rebounds) and also leads the team in assists at 6.1 per game.
Denver's defense allowed 66 points in the paint against the Nets, which was a crucial reason the Nuggets lost again.
"It can't be that easy. We've just got to be stronger down there," Murray said of the team's interior defense. "If you've got to take a foul, take a foul, but that was just the whole game."
The Nuggets have had a difficult time recently getting their offense and defense to mesh in the same game, even though they are holding opponents to an NBA-low 101.9 points per game. Forwards Paul Millsap and Will Barton ranked among the top five in the league's defensive rating stat through the weekend, trailing only Embiid and the Milwaukee Bucks duo of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe.
Millsap has arguably been the Nuggets' most consistent player all season. It won't always show in the statistics (13 points, 5.9 rebounds per game).
"He's been the quiet unsung hero of our team," coach Michael Malone said. "We've had a lot of younger guys who have been up and down, inconsistent. If you looked at our first 20 games, Paul has been Mr. Consistency for us, and that's what you expect from a 14-year veteran."
--Field Level Media
Updated December 10, 2019