Sixers Travel to OKC to Take on the Horford-less Thunder

NBA: MAR 01 76ers at Clippers
LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 01: Philadelphia 76ers Forward Mike Scott (1) celebrates with Philadelphia 76ers Guard Shake Milton (18) during a NBA game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Clippers on March 1, 2020 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

Last night, the Sixers failed to capitalize on a fourth quarter comeback against the Grizzlies. Tobias Harris stepped out of bounds while attempting to tie the game with the shot clock unplugged. This game ending moment added another turnover to the Sixers’ horrid 23 total in the contest.

The Sixers, who will still be without Joel Embiid and Seth Curry, look to leave that game behind. Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons will attempt to pick up the scoring Embiid and Curry bring as they take on the Thunder tonight.

You can catch the game on NBC Sports Philadelphia at 7, with pregame coverage starting at 6:30. If on the go, you can listen to the game on 97.5 the Fantatic. The Sixers (9-5) are 2.5 point favorites over the Thunder (6-6), with the total set at 222.

Injury Report:

Sixers:

Joel Embiid, Seth Curry, Vincent Poirier, and Mike Scott will all remain out for this one. Embiid did not travel with the team for this road trip due to knee pain, but is expected to return this week. The same goes for Mike Scott, who did not travel due to knee pain either.

Seth Curry is missing his seventh straight game after testing positive for COVID-19. Poirier, who was a COVID-19 contact, will remain out as well. On a more positive note, Furkan Korkmaz will be available for this game after missing the last 11 games due to a groin/thigh injury.

The Sixers will turn to 6th man of the year candidate Shake Milton and rookies Isaiah Joe and Tyrese Maxey to pick up some of the slack left behind from these guys being out.

Thunder:

The most intriguing name that’s missing this game for OKC is Al Horford. Horford, who played some of the worst basketball of his career for Philly last year, has been sidelined with some personal stuff.

Along with Horford, Ty Jerome (ankle) and Trevor Ariza (personal) will remain out for the Thunder.

Tale of the Tape:

Sixers:

  • 4th in East
  • 113.6 PPG
  • 110.4 Points against per game
  • Top scorer: Joel Embiid (25 ppg)
  • Last 10: 6-4

Thunder:

  • 11th in West
  • 106 PPG
  • 112.1 Points against per game
  • Top scorer: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (21.6 ppg)
  • Last 10: 5-5

Player to Watch:

It’s tough to not say Shake Milton or Tyrese Maxey here. Milton, who has been one of the top frontrunners for 6MOTY this season, has scored at least 24 points in his last three games, all while coming off the bench. Maxey has also been a rookie phenom for the Sixers, averaging 19.4 points per game in his five starts.

However, all eyes still have to be on Ben Simmons. Reports came out that he was basically traded to Houston for James Harden until the very last minute. Simmons has played decent in his two games since those reports, being an assist away from back-to-back triple doubles.

Simmons, though, needs to take over the game. In the loss to Memphis, he would drive to the hoop nearly every possession, but then just chuck it backwards looking for a teammate. Along with this, he had seven turnovers. Not the best look for the 6’10 point guard.

Look for Simmons to dominate tonight’s game. He may come out and produce 25+ points en route to a Sixers’ win. If he doesn’t, all criticism will be right back on him once again.

Prediction:

The Sixers at full strength are 7-0. Without their entire group of starters, they are 2-5. These are very telling stats for this group, especially since they are still trying to establish chemistry.

The Sixers do match up well against the Thunder. Even though we’re missing out on the first Horford v Sixers matchup since he was traded, the Sixers are the superior team in this game. Doc Rivers will make the changes needed, and Philadelphia will make the win happen.

Sixers win in some low scoring fashion, 106-97.

Photo Credit: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

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