The Tip-Off: Sixers seeking their first win since Christmas

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After a very impressive win against the Milwaukee Bucks on Christmas Day, it has been straight misery since. The Philadelphia 76ers have dropped three straight games, causing their locker room to fill with frustration. Each player is calling for, as Josh Richardson expressed, “accountability.”

Brett Brown and his squad look to end this dismal road trip with a statement win against the Houston Rockets (23-11).

Coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. with tip-off scheduled for 8 p.m. on ESPN. Radio coverage will be on 97.5 The Fanatic.

The Philadelphia 76ers are 4.5 point underdogs with an over/under set at 225.

Know Your Enemy:

Houston Rockets

James Harden

The pure scoring machine they call James Harden will be the key to this matchup. Averaging 38.2 points and 7.5 assists for the Rockets, Harden is a one-man wrecking crew.

This offseason, he was teamed up with Russell Westbrook. The two have been looking to get Houston to the next level in the Western Conference. Clint Capella also deserves to not be overlooked, as the rebounding machine averages over 14 rebounds a game himself.

Injuries and Call-Ups

Sixers: OUT: Matisse Thybulle(right knee sprain), DOUBTFUL: James Ennis III(stomach illness)

With both Thybulle and Ennis likely to be out for the Sixers, enter Zhaire Smith.

This could be the first time this season Smith gets minutes assuming Ennis is out. So far this season with the G-League, he’s averaging 13.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2 assists to 2.4 turnovers, 0.8 steals and 0.7 blocks in 27.1 minutes per game. He’s shooting 51.1 percent from the floor, 29.2 percent from three (3.7 attempts) and 75 percent from the free=throw line.

Prediction

This will not be an easy challenge for the Sixers to breakthrough. However, if they do, it could bring the confidence they need as they return home.

The Rockets have been just as good of a home team as the Sixers have been, showcasing a 12-4 record at Toyota Center.

The Sixers have been so unpredictable so far in 2019, and hopefully 2020 they get back on their feet. This game should be close, but the Sixers, assuming they shut down Harden, should be able to sneak this one out before heading back to Wells Fargo Center.

Embiid wins the paint over Capella, Simmons keeps Harden to a modest scoring number, and Richardson keeps Westbrook modest, and the Sixers can win this game. Their defense has proven to be their strength, and this is a true test to their success so far.

Sixers win, 119-115.

Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

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