PHILADELPHIA — Shortly after his 76ers escaped with a 133-122 extra time victory over the Lakers, coach Doc Rivers eased right into a chair earlier than the information convention and, earlier than he may reply a query, summed up how his evening performed out.
“I thought we would start this about 15 minutes ago,” Rivers mentioned with a smile.
So did nearly everybody else inside Wells Fargo Middle on Friday evening when Joel Embiid break up a pair of free throws to make it 119-110 with 34.8 seconds to go in regulation.
From there, nevertheless, a comedy of errors allowed the Lakers to not solely get again into the sport however have an opportunity to win it in regulation.
The Sixers dedicated three turnovers within the span of 21.6 seconds, in addition to break up a pair of free throws, to present their opponents life.
“Just trying to figure out what the hell was going on, honestly,” mentioned Embiid, who had 38 factors and 12 rebounds in 46 minutes, when requested what was going by his thoughts throughout Philadelphia’s fourth-quarter collapse. “It should have never been in that position. But I’m glad we got another opportunity at it, and we went to overtime and closed it out.”
Whereas Philadelphia was doing its half to present Los Angeles an opportunity, the Lakers did loads to assist their very own trigger, getting a layup from Patrick Beverley, a pair of free throws from Anthony Davis and a 3-pointer from Austin Reaves to drag to inside 120-117 with 10.5 seconds to go.
At that time, Reaves was fouled by Matisse Thybulle on a 3-pointer with 9.2 seconds to go, sending the second-year ahead to the free throw line with an opportunity to tie the rating. However after Reaves made the primary two free throws, he missed the third. Within the ensuing scrum for the ball, it wound up being final touched by LeBron James — giving Philadelphia possession with 5.5 seconds to go and an opportunity to, lastly, get the ball inbounds efficiently.
As an alternative, Tobias Harris lofted a go within the air towards Embiid after he had nowhere to go together with the ball — just for it to hit Embiid within the face and bounce away.
The ball wound up in Davis’ arms, who then executed a give-and-go with Russell Westbrook earlier than Harris fouled him with 3.7 seconds to go.
However with an opportunity to place the Lakers up 1 — and on the verge of securing a really inconceivable win since Philadelphia had no timeouts left — Davis missed the second free throw, permitting the 76ers new life and sending the sport to extra time as a substitute.
“It hurts for sure,” mentioned Davis, who completed with 31 factors — 25 of which got here after halftime — 12 rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 36 minutes.. “Especially when you make the first one.
“I put numerous stress on myself to make free throws, particularly in that sort of scenario. I am nonetheless sort of shocked that I missed it.”
For as dramatic as the end-of-game sequence was, the overtime period wound up being rather anticlimactic. Rather than continuing their descent into madness in the extra session, Philadelphia immediately got its bearings, outscoring Los Angeles 13-2 in the extra session, as Westbrook missed more shots by himself (going 0-for-5) than the 76ers took as a team in the overtime period (going 3-for-4, plus a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line).
“Truthfully, most likely simply the frustration for blowing that [lead] and permitting it to get that shut,” Harris said, when asked how he and his teammates got back on track.
“We knew we wanted to do something attainable to come back out of right here with a victory.”
The bizarre collapse in the final moments overshadowed what was the game of the career of guard De’Anthony Melton, who finished with 33 points on 11-for-16 shooting, including 8-for-12 on 3-pointers, to go along with seven steals.
“Truthfully, my teammates was simply discovering me,” Melton said. “A few of these passes, the best way they acquired by, I imply, I am fairly certain they did not suppose they had been going to get by. However they stored getting by, they stored discovering me and so they stored leaving me open so I stored capturing it and capturing it with confidence.”
Even though the 76ers managed to, after a disastrous performance in the closing moments of Monday’s loss in Houston to the lowly Rockets, coupled with their foibles late in this one, Rivers said that those issues are going to be sorted out moving forward.
“All our guards, all of us have to come back to the ball,” Rivers said. “We’ve to get open. We’ve to play by fouls on the finish of the sport … it might’t occur. We’ll repair that.”
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.