The Philadelphia 76ers were in a tough situation on Monday as they invaded the Golden 1 Center to take on the Sacramento Kings for the fifth game of this 6-game road trip. They had been shorthanded the entire trip, but Monday was an even bigger challenge.
They were down four starters as Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Seth Curry, and Danny Green were all sidelined and they needed somebody to step up and provide some production.
Coach Doc Rivers turned to defensive menace Matisse Thybulle who turned in a strong performance of 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting with three steals in a 102-94 win over the Kings. He also knocked down a triple and he had a block as well to help the Sixers get it done.
“I thought he was better defensively, but offensively, he was fantastic,” said Rivers. “He ran the floor. If you remember, right before COVID, we started releasing him on the break because we thought if we can get him in the open court, he can score a little bit. He did that tonight. He had great cuts for us. He did a lot of really nice things.”
Thybulle is not this offensive force with the ball. He is not one who will take a guy off the dribble and get to the basket or anything and he has to be able to move off the ball in order to get his offense. He did so on Monday which is something Rivers has wanted from him.
“I think he needed me to be more confident in him maybe offensively and just allow him to play,” Rivers added. “I think he understands now from me what I need him to be and how I need him to play and he’s really embraced it. He has embraced the cut game. He’s embraced being a picker and roller. That’s tough for a guard and he’s doing that so I think it’s probably a little bit of both.”
On top of that, Thybulle was also assigned to Kings guard Buddy Hield. The sharpshooter scored 14 points in the first quarter and it looked like Philadelphia was going to have issues with him all night. Hield only scored seven points the rest of the way as Thybulle did a terrific job against him.
“I thought he was gonna have 90 the way he started out the game and he’s like that,” Rivers started laughing of Hield. “We were talking about it before the game and I yelled at Dan (Burke), no more talking about guys getting hot because we were saying the one guy that can just get hot on you and throw a 40 piece on you is Buddy Hield. He started out that way. So Matisse shut it down. That’s what Matisse does.”
The Sixers held the Kings to only 12 points in the final quarter and Thybulle’s defense against Hield was a big reason for that. He was not able to get a clean look all night long.
“Just play hard,” Thybulle stated. “There’s no secret with guys like that. Just one of his crazy skills is getting shots up which is weird to say that’s a skill, but he’s like elite at it. So for me, it was just play as hard as I could just to always be in this path, in his shadow.”
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Source: Yahoo Sports