The Philadelphia 76ers are looking to get back on track tonight against a young Sacramento Kings team led by De’Aaron Fox.
After two days of rest, the Philadelphia 76ers will return to action for an 8 o’clock matchup with the Sacramento Kings. This will be a home game for the team, and they will look to avenge their recent loss to the Bucks and build some cushion as the Sixers’ first-place conference lead has dwindled to half a game.
The Kings currently rank 11th in the Western Conference with a record of 17-24. The Kings are led in scoring by point guard De’Aaron Fox, who averages 23.9 points per game along with 7.5 assists. His pace is a challenge to defend on a nightly basis as Fox may very well be the fastest player in the NBA and makes use of this by pushing the pace early and often. In the first matchup between the Sixers and Kings, Fox poured in 34 points and 10 assists in order to keep his team in the game.
Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield are featured as the two other main scoring options as they each average 16.6 points per game. Both are known for their three-point prowess, and Hield launches 10.4 three-point attempts per game, which ranks 4th in the NBA.
Sacramento has also been very impressed with their rookie Tyrese Haliburton, whom they drafted with the 12th pick in last year’s draft. Haliburton has played 29.7 minutes and averaged 12.4 points per game while shooting 41.8% from beyond the three-point arc.
The Kings will be without Chimezie Metu and Marvin Bagley tonight. Despite some public feuds with Kings coaching and management, Bagley has had a productive season averaging 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. He will be out due to a hand injury that is expected to keep him out for at least 4 weeks.
Even without Joel Embiid, the Sixers have maintained a hot start into the second half of the season. Dating back to before the all-star break, the Sixers have won 8 of their last 10 games. Their previous overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks was the first loss without Embiid.
Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons have each stepped their respective games up since Embiid has been sidelined, but the Sixers are in for a new challenge as Seth Curry will be missing tonight due to a sprained ankle. It is yet to be determined how long Curry will be held out, but the Duke product is set to be re-evaluated after the back-to-back this weekend.
Seth Curry has been extremely impactful in his time with the team so far this season. He is averaging 12.9 points per game and shooting 43.2% from beyond the three-point arc. As productive as he has been in his 4.7 three-point attempts per game, his biggest impact has been felt in spreading the floor and creating space for the other starters.
Look for Shake Milton and Matisse Thybulle to get an uptick in minutes with the absence of Curry. Thybulle had success guarding De’Aaron Fox in the first matchup with the Kings this season. Milton could also benefit from some extra minutes and look to fully find his stride on the season.
Previous Matchup and Tonight’s Outlook:
This will be the second time the Sixers and Kings will match up this season. The first game occurred on February 9th, and the Sixers secured a victory by a score of 119-111.
This was a sloppy game for the Philadelphia 76ers as they turned the ball over 17 times and were outshot by 22 attempts from beyond the three-point arc and by 14 on overall shot attempts. A combined 69 points from Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and Seth Curry ended up being enough to get the job done, but it was not the best game the team has played all year.
Look for tonight to be a high-paced matchup as De’Aaron Fox and Ben Simmons each attempt to assert their fast-break dominance. The Kings are a far better team than their record indicates, and their high-energy style of play has a high potential for the youthful squad. Despite this, the Sixers enter the game as 7 point favorites and will look to get back in the win column tonight.