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The Sixers had been terrible defensively. Even as they sprinted out to an 8-2 start, they were giving up a ton of points. They were in the bottom half of the NBA in defensive rating. Then Joel Embiid (and others) got that COVID jawn, the Sixers went on a long losing streak and the defense got even worse. It’s almost as if the Sixers are down one two-time NBA All-Defensive Team award winner. Almost.

Joel Embiid is back from COVID, and the Sixers are playing a little better in the last two weeks—and the defense has improved! They held Atlanta to nine points in the fourth quarter. They’re now 13th in adjusted defensive rating. And last night they took Steph Curry and shoved all his three-pointers into a flaming dumpster. He came into the game 10 threes away from the all-time three-point record. The Sixers only let him hit three threes.

Seriously. In the Sixers’ 102-93 win over the Warriors last night, Curry shot just 6-for-20, including 3-of-14 from three. Twice, Sixers defensive whiz Matisse Thybulle blocked Curry’s three-point attempts. The AP reported this was the first time Curry was blocked twice on threes in an NBA game. Let’s check it out!

Ooh, that was really nice! Thybulle has such long arms; compared with that athleticism he’s able to block shots from seemingly all over the court.

This one’s great, too! Curry is doing his classic stepback-three look, and Thybulle just reaches out and blocks it! Impressive.

So, yeah. The Sixers are 15-12. They’re middling. But maybe they’re finally learning to play defense without a certain guy on the floor.