The Sixers welcome the Brooklyn Nets into town, who may be without both James Harden and Kyrie Irving in a battle for first place.
It may not be as star-studded as fans may have hoped, but tonight’s game is sure to be a fun one and will have playoff seeding implications. Both teams are currently tied for first place in the conference, so tonight’s winner will have sole control over the Eastern Conference.
As mentioned earlier, some names are missing from tonight’s matchup; with that said, let’s take a look at the injury report for the game.
George Hill – Out (thumb)
Anthony Tolliver – Available
George Hill remains out and will continue to be for some time longer. The goal is essentially for Hill to have a ramp-up period before the playoffs. It’s hard, at this point, to see him debuting before the month of May.
Anthony Tolliver looks set to make his debut for the Sixers tonight, but the question is, even if he’s ready, how much of him will we see? Doc Rivers was perfectly candid when speaking about the struggle to find time for Tolliver, saying, “I don’t know about minutes unless you want me to bench Tobias or somebody like that“.
Now, the clear answer in the mind of many would be for Mike Scott to ride the pine for a bit, but it doesn’t sound like that’s in the cards, at least not right away.
James Harden – Out (hamstring)
Spencer Dinwiddie – Out (knee)
Tyler Johnson – Out (knee)
Kevin Durant – Out (hamstring)
LaMarcus Aldridge – Out (illness)
Blake Griffin – Out (rest)
Kyrie Irving – Questionable (personal reasons)
Chris Chiozza – Questionable (hand)
The Nets’ injured list looks almost like a playoff lineup showing just how short-handed the Nets could be tonight. James Harden seems to be a sure-fire out, while Kyrie Irving really seems like a coinflip as to whether or not he will play. Kevin Durant though is out tonight with an apparent hamstring injury so the Sixers won’t be facing the “real” Nets.
What may end up in the Nets’ own favor is that LaMarcus Aldridge is missing the game. Despite his own confidence, Aldridge is far from a capable defender. While no one on the Net’s roster has a chance at defending Joel Embiid, DeAndre Jordan has the best shot, and since Aldridge is out of the way, minutes may open up for the only post defender the Nets have.
Blake Griffin is also out of this back-to-back for a rest day as they save him for the playoffs.
Finally, Chris Chiozza injured his hand in yesterday’s matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves. If both Irving and Chiozza are out, then the Nets have a serious problem as they won’t have a single facilitator on the roster.
Key To The Game
Feed The Pig
The game plan for tonight, without a doubt, should be for the Sixers to “feed the pig“, meaning that Joel Embiid should be set up time and time again in the post. His opponents will be DeAndre Jordan and Nic Claxton, so, in other words, it’s feeding time.
The rest of the offense should open up as Embiid is sure to be double and eventually triple-teamed down low. Snipers like Danny Green, Seth Curry, and Furkan Korkmaz have the chance at thriving from deep, but it all starts down low for Philadelphia.
Tip-off is at 7:00 PM tonight for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets. It’s another primetime game for the Sixers as they will be on ESPN tonight. You can also listen live as always at 97.5 FM The Fanatic.
It’s a matchup of the East’s top dogs, and while all the big names won’t be there, this game matters and could have an impact on the rest of the regular season.