The Sixers are coming off back-to-back losses in which they have played their hearts out for all 96 minutes. With a large portion of the roster still out due to injuries and covid protocol, the Sixers will be forced to battle back once again after just one day of rest. Now with a record of 8-4 on the season, the Sixers will have their best opportunity to get in their win column during this shorthanded stint as they take on the Toronto Raptors.
- Joel Embiid- OUT (Health and Safety protocol)
- Matisse Thybulle- OUT (Health and Safety protocol)
- Isaiah Joe- OUT (Health and Safety protocol)
- Ben Simmons- OUT (personal)
- Grant Riller- OUT (knee)
- Tobias Harris- Questionable (Health and Safety protocol)
- Seth Curry- Questionable (foot contusion)
The Sixers continue to be shorthanded tonight as several players remain injured or in the Covid protocol process. It is a great sign to see Tobias Harris move up to questionable as it has now been 8 days since he tested positive for Covid. While the protocol seems to indicate that he will still be unable to play tonight, if he returns two negative tests he may be able to rejoin the team. The Sixers would certainly love to have the 19.8 points per game he is averaging this season back in the lineup.
The Toronto Raptors are off to a 6-5 start which currently places them at 8th in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors have embraced positionless basketball more than any other team in the league and have assembled a roster of ballhandlers at every position. While the efficiency numbers have not shown a ton of success early on, the franchise absolutely has an identity they are striving to achieve. Head Coach, Nick Nurse, deserves a ton of credit for this thought process and it will be interesting to watch develop over the next few seasons. Transition defense has been a struggle for the Sixers in the past, and it will likely be put to the test tonight.
Fourth-overall pick, Scottie Barnes, has made himself a key part of the team early on and will likely end up in the Rookie of the Year race toward the end of the season. The Florida State product is averaging 17 points and 8.5 rebounds per game so far this year and has made his presence felt on both sides of the ball. The entire Raptors starting five averages over 11 points per game with OG Anunoby leading the way with 19.7. Look for the Raptors to swing the ball around and employ a well-balanced scoring attack.
Keys for the Sixers:
The Sixers’ new addition has proved to be the highest quality backup to Joel Embiid that the Sixers have ever had so far this season. There is not a single player on the Raptors active roster listed at over 6’9 which opens the door for some bully ball from Andre Drummond. The two-time all-star has proved incredibly productive in his time with the starting unit and a solid game today would go a long way to increasing the Sixers’ chances of winning.
The second-year guard has been terrific to start the year. It is clear Maxey has put a focus on cutting down turnovers and developing as a playmaker and the results are evident. The pace of this game is likely to become a real factor and it falls on the shoulders of Tyrese Maxey to help control this. Following his 31 point performance in the previous game, the confidence of Maxey should be sky-high. Expectations have been lofty for the young guard but he has impressed everyone early on in the season. Look for the Kentucky product to make his mark once again in this matchup.
While he was once regarded as just an end-of-bench good morale guy, Furkan Korkmaz has developed into a valuable part of this Sixers team. Furkan has been terrific to start the year but is coming off his worst performance. In the loss to the Bucks, Furkan scored just 5 points in 45 minutes of play. The 24-year-old shot just 2-18 from the field and 1-12 from beyond the arc in the disappointing effort. If Furkan is able to rebound from the poor performance and get back to the 12.4 points per game he is averaging, it would help the Sixers a great deal.
Tonight’s tip-off will occur at 7:00 and take place in Philly. The Sixers are listed as 3-point favorites heading into this game. This will be the final game in the three-game homestand before the Sixers leave for a six-game West Coast trip, so it would be nice to tally another one in the win column.
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire