76ers Travel to Phoenix to Take on Suns in Matinee Matchup

NBA: FEB 24 Magic at 76ers
PHILADELPHIA, PA – FEBRUARY 24: Philadelphia 76ers Center Joel Embiid (21) laughs with Orlando Magic Center Bismack Biyombo (11) in the second half during the game between the Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers on February 24, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia 76ers simply just have a bad matchup against the Portland Trailblazers. Vintage Melo struck as the Sixers dropped their second in as many games against Portland on Thursday night. In game three of a four game western road trip, Philly will look to turn things back into the positive direction.

In a Saturday matinee matchup, the Philadelphia 76ers (18-8) visit the gritty Phoenix Suns (15-9) at 3 PM. Coverage begins on NBC Sports Philadelphia at 2:30 PM with radio coverage on 97.5 the Fanatic.

The spread for this game is currently even, with the over/under set at 223.

Injury Report:

76ers:

Philadelphia does not have many glaring holes, but one of their needs is depth at the power forward position. Mike Scott has been dealing with knee issues all season. He played in the team’s first five games, then missed five, returned for one, then has missed the last 13.

For this game, Scott is listed as probable and is looking to return. Even though he is shooting less than 30% from three and averaging around five points per game, coach Doc Rivers has made it clear that the team needs the depth that he provides for that position. Look for Scott to play some valuable minutes if he can return to the lineup today.

Shake Milton is listed as out for the Sixers’ game tomorrow against the Suns with a left ankle sprain. As another one of Doc Rivers’ top notch six men, his time away will be detrimental for the Sixers.

Suns:

As for the Suns, they also have a few names listed on their injury report, including one very familiar face.

Former Process Sixer Dario Saric will most likely not be facing his former team today. Chris Paul and Jae Crowder look to be returning for Phoenix as well.

76ers’ Player to Watch:

Joel Embiid

Okay, yeah, this is really obvious. However, even when the big man isn’t having an MVP frontrunner caliber season, he has shown to dominate the Suns in his career.

In his six games against the Suns, Embiid has absolutely dominated. He’s averaged over 30 minutes per game, while scoring over 28ppg. The storyline goes beyond his actual stats as well, though.

Back in November 2018, Embiid and Ayton poked fun at each other on social media. A picture Ayton drew of himself dunking on Embiid went viral on Twitter in August and Embiid, being the goofball he is, brought more attention to it.

The Suns page then followed it up with a tweet of their own after the game.

Embiid would get the last laugh, putting up 33 points and 17 rebounds in that game compared to Ayton’s 17 points and nine rebounds. Two months later, Embiid dominated again with 42 points, 18 rebounds, two assists, three steals and two blocks. Ayton did well for a first-year player again, posting 18 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and two steals.

This will be their first meeting since. The two respect each other, but it should be a fun matchup nonetheless.

Prediction

76ers squeeze this one out

I hate to call this a must win. However, after dropping a bad loss to Portland, the Sixers need to take this one with the league-leading Jazz waiting for their matchup tomorrow.

Expect both Embiid and Simmons to have their way today. Tobias Harris is a streaky shooter, and is in a slump. With the potential return of Mike Scott, Tobias should have a little extra time to rest and regroup. The 76ers should squeak out of this one with a win, whether it’s ugly or not.

Chalk up a 118-114 Sixers win.

Photo Credit: Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire

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