The three overtime periods were all about three people: Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Russell Westbrook. In the overtime periods Embiid had 12 points, two monster blocks and two rebounds. Simmons had two steals, three assists, two rebounds, and two points. Westbrook had 14 points in the extra frames and eight rebounds. He also assisted the winning bucket by Andre Roberson. Simmons finished with 12 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds, just shy of another triple-double, and Embiid finished with a game-high 34 points, but it was Westbrook who won the overtime battle.
Carmelo Anthony will enter Madison Square Garden Saturday for the first time since leaving the Knicks to join the Thunder in the offseason. Anthony no doubt wants to have a good game against his former team and put on a show at the Garden. Whether it's boos or cheers, or a mix of both, it looked like he was using the Sixers to get primed and ready to take on his former team. Averaging 17.7 points per game this season, Anthony scored 24 against the Sixers on the first night of a back-to-back for Oklahoma City.
In the three games preceding Friday, Bayless scored a combined 11 points. Then against the Thunder he caught fire and scored 14 on 4-of-7 (all three-pointers) for his 10th double-digit outing of the season. JJ Redick was 4-of-7 from three in the first half and finished with 19 points but was unable to hit a three in the second half or the three that could have won the game in triple-overtime. The shooting of both Bayless and Redick was necessary because Robert Covington couldn't seem to get the ball to fall. Covington hit just one three in the first half and finished the night 4-of-21 from the field and 3-of-15 from three for 11 points.
Back tightness and soreness had kept Embiid out of two games this season and he was questionable because of the pain heading into the matchup against OKC. With 2:49 left in the third quarter Jerami Grant fouled Embiid and the big man started to fall backward and before he went down he clutched his lower back. The way he grabbed his back looked like reflex, the way you immediately touch something that stings or hurts. The fact that he hit two free throws and stayed in the game is encouraging, but the way he gingerly ran back down the court was not. After a triple-overtime game where he played more than 48 minutes, the back tightness is hampering him; hopefully the two days off between games will help him get back to normal. If not, let's hope the big guy doesn't try to play through something while the season is still early.