OKC Thunder face reeling Philadelphia 76ers – game preview

Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers drives to the basket as Steven Adams #12 of the OKC Thunder defends. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers drives to the basket as Steven Adams #12 of the OKC Thunder defends. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the OKC Thunder dunks the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers on November 15 (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Winners of five consecutive games the OKC Thunder face the Philadelphia 76ers who are on a four-game losing skid. Gameday breaks down the match.

The timing of the OKC Thunder hitting Philadelphia isn’t ideal given the 76ers have been stewing for days over four consecutive road losses. Big man superstar and media savant Joel Embiid has already noted this is a must-win for his team which means he’ll be dialed in from the tip.

A tall (no pun intended) task awaits the Thunder as they seek to extend a season-high five-game winning streak.

Incredibly the huge 76ers starting lineup from last season got even taller with the exit of the 6’4″ sniper J.J. Redick and 6’8 Jimmy Butler. They were replaced by the 6’8″ Josh Richardson and 6’10” Al Horford. Few teams in the league can counter their length, let alone the talent.

Moreover, the 76ers are a Jekyll and Hyde squad who feasts at home (16-2) and struggles on the road (7-12). Make no mistake winning at Wells Fargo is no easy situation and with Philly reeling from the road trip where they failed to win a single game it means they’ll be aggressive from the tip.

That doesn’t mean the Thunder has no chance but it’s important OKC is focused and make certain to be ready to play in that opening frame and third quarter where they’ve struggled at times this season. OKC has improved in that regard in recent games but given the brewing dynamics in Philly, it’s even more vital in this contest.

Entering the match the 76ers rank fifth in the East which is a far cry from where pundits expected them to be at season start.

In the first meeting between these clubs, on November 15th, the teams were both figuring our their dynamics, systems and chemistry as OKC pulled off a huge overtime victory of 127-119.

The match was indicative of some things as true to form the 76ers struggled away from home and continue to. Whereas, that victory was perhaps the starting point of the Thunder clutch time ascendance. Immediately after that win, OKC played the three matches versus the LA teams losing all three in the clutch. But flash forward after the LA trio of games to a run of 15-5 by the Thunder. Suffice to say these are not the same teams who played mid-November.

With that, let’s dive into five keys outline areas the Thunder needs to focus on and breaking down where the 76ers weaknesses lie.