On to OKC

by Lauren Rosen

The 76ers (9-5) have a quick bounce-back opportunity Sunday, facing the Oklahoma City Thunder (6-6) on the second night of a back-to-back.

The Sixers dropped the front end of the back-to-back Saturday, falling to the Memphis Grizzlies, 106-104, in a meeting that came down to the final seconds.

Shake Milton has been phenomenal since missing four games due to league health and safety protocols, leading the Sixers in scoring off the bench Thursday against Miami (31 pts) and Saturday in Memphis (28 pts).

Milton is averaging 16.9 points, 1.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.2 steals per game thus far this season.

“He’s been doing an amazing job this season,” Dwight Howard (8 pts, 18 reb, 3 blk) said following Saturday’s matchup. “He’s shooting great shots. I haven’t seen him really take any bad shots.”

Milton scored 21 of his 28 points in the second half. Rivers says the aggression Milton brought in the second half can be a game-changer for the team moving forward.

“I told him, ‘Shake, keep it on. Keep your foot on the gas,’” Rivers said postgame. “I want Shake to be that way every night, no matter who’s on the floor, in all situations. Every night, that could be Shake Milton. Tonight, late, he was.”

Tobias Harris (21 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast, 2 blk, 1 stl) also gave Milton props:

“Shake’s been great. He’s a guy who’s got a lot of confidence. He doesn’t shy away from the moment. He’s really skilled with the basketball… He’s been a huge spark.”

Looking ahead, the Sixers are focused on limiting their turnovers against OKC, after committing 23 Saturday.

“We allowed too many turnovers… We’ve just got to be really solid,” Harris said. “We’ve got to have great energy at the start of games.”

“[We’ve] got to grow from it, got to progress, got to be ready for tomorrow.”

Sunday’s contest tips at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Opponent Outlook:

Oklahoma City (6-6) most recently hosted the Bulls Friday, as the Thunder notched a 127-125 overtime victory.

Friday’s meeting with the Bulls marked Gilgeous-Alexander’s first double-double of the season, finishing with 33 points and 11 assists.

Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC’s leading scorer, has scored 30-plus points twice this season, and has scored in double-figures in 11 of his 12 outings.

Al Horford will be out (personal reasons) for his third straight game.

Follow Along:

Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia / NBA TV

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