Joel Embiid points tonight: 76ers big man's 24 points on return leads them to victory vs hapless OKC

Oklahoma City Thunder v Philadelphia 76ers
Joel Embiid points tonight: 76ers big man's 24 points on return leads them to victory vs hapless OKC

Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid finally returned from surgery on his left meniscus and was made available at game-time to play against the OKC Thunder.

The 76ers staged a fourth-quarter rally to defeat the Thunder 108-105 on Tuesday night. Joel Embiid made a triumphant return to the lineup, contributing 24 points, six rebounds, seven assists and three steals in just 29 minutes of play.

He shot 6 of 14 from the field at 42.9% from the field, 0 of 3 from the distance and notably, made all 12 free throws.

Kelly Oubre Jr. emerged as the top scorer of the game with 25 points, showcasing a dominant performance, especially in the fourth quarter, where he made a significant impact, shooting 8-of-16 from the floor. Although the Sixers celebrated the return of the reigning MVP, Tyrese Maxey remained sidelined.

How Joel Embiid return helped the Philadelphia 76ers beat the OKC Thunder

The Philadelphia 76ers deployed pick-and-roll plays featuring Kyle Lowry and dribble-handoffs involving Buddy Hield to initiate actions with Joel Embiid in the opening quarter.

However, their strategy shifted at the beginning of the second quarter. Their isolation plays became less effective, resulting in a scoring drought of over three minutes before they managed to put points on the board.

In Embiid's return to the game, he seamlessly took charge, either scoring himself or facilitating the team's last six points of the quarter. Consequently, the Sixers managed to maintain a narrow three-point lead at the conclusion of the first quarter.

In the closing moments of the quarter, the Sixers reverted to relying heavily on the Hield/Joel dribble handoffs, culminating in Buddy Hield sinking his first 3-pointer of the evening. However, despite their efforts, they encountered difficulties maintaining pace with the Thunder.

Oklahoma City managed to convert five of their final six shot attempts, ultimately seizing a commanding 10-point lead as the first half came to a close.

The game transformed into a defensive battle. At one point during the quarter, both teams endured a stretch of over two and a half minutes without scoring. Moreover, the third quarter saw a total of 12 turnovers committed by both teams, further highlighting the defensive intensity and the struggle for offensive rhythm.

Embiid managed to strip the ball from Josh Giddey in the game's last possession, earning himself two free throws during the fast break. Following this pivotal play, the Thunder failed to convert a 3-pointer on the subsequent possession, despite attempts by former teammate Isaiah Joe, ultimately sealing the victory for the Sixers.

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Edited by Neha