Winners of four straight, the Philadelphia Sixers have been riding a wave of momentum. Despite not having either of their All-Stars in the return from the break, and losing Joel Embiid mid-game the night after, the 76ers have been fighting. Tobias Harris and the Sixers’ bench are dominating recently, helping them maintain their top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Philadelphia will seek to ride this momentum Sunday night. Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs visit Philly in a battle of two divisional leaders. Coverage will begin at 6 PM on NBC Sports Philadelphia, with tip-off slated for 6:30 pm. You can catch the game on NBC Sports Philadelphia or NBATV. In front of their home fans, the Sixers 4 point favorites with the over/under sitting at an even 223.
This will be the first meeting of these two teams this season. Dating back to 2018, though, the Sixers have had the Spurs’ number. In six games since the 2017-2018 season, Philadelphia has taken five of the six games.
Since entering the league, Ben Simmons has matched up against San Antonio all six times as well. He has put up some of his best numbers against Pop and the Spurs, averaging 17-6-8 in just over 31 minutes of work. The same goes for Tobias Harris, who has played in 20 career games against them. For his career, he averages 16-6-3 in just under 31 minutes of work. With Joel Embiid out, Dwight Howard aims to maintain his career 17-13-1 numbers against San Antonio as well.
- Ben Simmons (health and safety protocols) is a game-time decision
- Joel Embiid (knee) is out after suffering an injury Friday night
- DeMar DeRozan (personal reasons) is apparently out for Sunday night’s game
- LaMarcus Aldridge will not play, as he and the team have mutually agreed that they part ways
Players to Watch:
Okay, this may be stating the obvious. But, if Ben Simmons ends up playing tonight, we could see him absolutely terrorize the Spurs. With Embiid out, Simmons has played some of his best basketball. The 6’10 point guard knows how to take over a game. Also, let’s not forget the Wizards’ announcer calling him overrated, then doubling down on it.
One tidbit from this game is that DeRozan is expected to not play either. As we won’t get the battle of two very overly hated players, this just means he won’t have to worry about slowing the scorer down. Ben can go out there, do his thing, and put on a show in front of the Philly crowd.
The Spurs obviously have one of the best coaches in NBA history. Their bench has been a work in progress so far this season, and this will continue moving forward. In the Spurs blowout win over the Magic Friday night, they used 13 different players. Rudy Gay and Lonnie Walker led their bench with 19 and 13 points, respectively. Luka Samanic, Keita Bates-Diop, and Drew Eubanks also got the job done.
With the Sixers still a bit shorthanded, their bench will need to compete with some critical NBA vets on the Spurs’ side of the ball. The only chance the Spurs have of winning this game is for their bench to outplay the likings of Tony Bradley, Furkan Korkmaz, Shake Milton, and Mike Scott.
Prediction- Sixers Win
This game will probably be a lot more ugly than Sixers’ fans want to see. However, they should pull this one out. With the Spurs’ top scorer out, it’ll be up to Ben Simmons to carry the weight here. Add in the fact that they’re playing at home, and some simply decent secondary scoring and Philadelphia should be en route to their fifth straight win.
Sixers win, 108-101.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire