76ers grab late lead, but ‘happy’ for chance to beat Lakers in OT

76ers grab late lead, but ‘happy’ for chance to beat Lakers in OT

PHILADELPHIA — Shortly after his Philadelphia 76ers escaped with a 133-122 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Lakerscoach Doc Rivers settled into a chair before the press conference and, before he could answer a question, summed up how his night went.

“I thought we were going to start this about 15 minutes ago,” Rivers said with a smile.

So did pretty much everyone else inside the Wells Fargo Center Friday night Joel Embiid split a pair of free throws to make it 119-110 with 34.8 seconds left in regulation.

From there, however, a comedy of errors allowed the Lakers to not only get back in the game, but have a chance to win it in regulation.

The Sixers committed three turnovers in a span of 21.6 seconds, as well as splitting a pair of free throws, to spark their opponents.

“I’m just trying to figure out what the hell was going on, honestly,” said Embiid, who had 38 points and 12 rebounds in 46 minutes, when asked what was going through his mind during Philadelphia’s fourth-quarter collapse. “I should never have been in this position. But I’m glad we got another chance, and we went to overtime and closed it out.”

While Philadelphia did its part to give Los Angeles a chance, the Lakers did a lot to help their own cause, getting a layup of Patrick Beverleya couple of free throws from Anthony Davis and a triple of Austin Reaves to pull to 120-117 with 10.5 seconds left.

At that point, Reaves was fouled Matisse Thybulle on a 3-pointer with 9.2 seconds left, sending the sophomore forward to the free throw line with a chance to tie the score. But after Reaves made the first two free throws, he missed the third. In the ensuing scramble for the ball, it ended up being the last touch lebron james — giving Philadelphia possession with 5.5 seconds left and a chance to finally successfully get the ball inbounds.

However, Tobias Harris he threw a pass in the air to Embiid after he had nowhere to go with the ball, only for it to hit Embiid in the face and bounce off.

The ball ended up in the hands of Davis, who then executed a gift and go with Russell Westbrook before Harris fouled him with 3.7 seconds left.

But with a chance to put the Lakers up by 1, and on the verge of a truly improbable victory as Philadelphia ran out of timeouts, Davis missed his second free throw, giving the 76ers new life and sending the game to the extension

“It hurts for sure,” said Davis, who finished with 31 points — 25 of which came at halftime — 12 rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 36 minutes. “Especially when you do the first one.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself to make free throws, especially in those types of situations. I’m still a little surprised that I missed.”

As dramatic as the late-game sequence was, the overtime period ended up being pretty anticlimactic. Instead of continuing their descent into overtime madness, Philadelphia immediately got their bearings, outscoring Los Angeles 13-2 in the extra session as Westbrook missed more shots of his own (going 0-for-5). than the 76ers. team in the overtime period (going 3-for-4, plus a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line).

“Honestly, probably just the disappointment of blowing this [lead] and allowing it to get so close,” Harris said when asked how he and his teammates got back on the court.

“We knew we had to do everything we could to get out of here with a win.”

The odd collapse in the final moments overshadowed what a run game the guard was By Anthony Meltonwho finished with 33 points on 11-of-16 shooting, including 8-of-12 3-pointers, to go along with seven steals.

“Honestly, my teammates just found me,” Melton said. “Some of those passes, the way they went, I mean, I’m pretty sure they didn’t think they were going to happen. But they kept going, they kept finding me and they left me open, so I just kept shooting it and shooting it – it with confidence.”

Although the 76ers pulled it off, after a disastrous performance in the closing moments of Monday’s loss in Houston to the lowly rocketsalong with his weaknesses at the end of this one, Rivers said those issues will be fixed moving forward.

“All of our guards, we all have to come to the ball,” Rivers said. “We have to open up. We have to play with fouls at the end of the game … it can’t happen. We’ll fix it.”

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.

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