The Philadelphia 76ers (21-16) look to take on the San Antonio Spurs (15-22) Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center. After expanding their winning streak to 5 against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, the Sixers are hungry for more. Slowly climbing up in the Eastern Conference, the Sixers currently sit 5th in the East, only two games back from the Miami Heat. With the Sixers facing an easy stretch of games over the next few weeks, games against depleted teams like the Spurs are crucial to obtain that 4th place spot.
Tyrese Maxey: Out (COVID-19 Protocols)
Shake Milton: Out (Back)
Danny Green: Questionable (Back)
Isaiah Joe: Questionable (Back)
Paul Reed: Out (COVID-19 Protocols)
Ben Simmons Out (Personal)
With tonight’s matchup we will see the return of Matisse Thybulle, who was out the last two games after being placed on the league’s health and safety protocols. The Sixers have missed Thybulle’s stellar defense in these past two matchups. There’s word yet on when Tyrese Maxey will suit back up.
Danny Green has also been recently placed on the injury report after Wednesday’s game against the Magic. Green put up one of the worst games the NBA has seen since Tony Snell’s record back in 2017. Green put up a stat line of all zero’s against the Spurs after playing 24 minutes.
San Antonio Spurs
It’s hard to look at the San Antonio Spurs at the moment and not mention Dejounte Murray. Out with COVID for 10 games, the Spurs were stuck in a 4 game losing streak. With Murray’s return Wednesday night against the Celtics, he shined on the hardwood and put up 22 PTS, 9 REB and 12 AST, falling short of his 7th career triple double.
Murray has been having one of the best seasons of his career. Averaging 18 PPG, 8.4 REB, 8.9 AST and 2 steals, he has become the Spurs go-to guy. The Sixers were on the hunt for Murray earlier in the season, with rumors of a trade for the star guard for Sixers Ben Simmons. With Murray heating it up on the floor, his trade value is starting to spike, landing the Sixers in murky water if they are still gunning for that trade.
It is worth noting that Tyler Johnson has just signed a deal with the San Antonio Spurs after playing three games with the Sixers over the past few weeks. Johnson’s time was cut short due to him being placed on the COVID-19 Health and safety protocols. During his time with the Sixers, Johnson averaged 12 minutes and 3 points per game. With the Spurs dealing with shortages due to COVID-19, Tyler Johnson has found yet another way to earn his way back into the league.
Keldon Johnson: COVID-19 Protocols
Derrick White: COVID-19 Protocols
Thaddeus Young: COVID-19 Protocols
Doug McDermott: COVID-19 Protocols
Devin Vassell: COVID-19 Protocols
Lonnie Walker IV: Reconditioning
The Sixers have one eight of the last 10 matchups with the Spurs, and seeing that they are currently 6.5 favorites according to Sportsbook, the Sixers can easily cover and add another notch over the Spurs.
With the return of Matisse Thybulle, he will most likely get the start from Doc in Danny Green’s absence. Thybulle, known widely for his impeccable defense, really knows how to get under the skin of a fast guard like Murray. Murray no doubt will get his dues, but Matisse Thybulle will only make him work harder for them.
There are not enough words to express how important Joel Embiid is for the Sixers. Embiid is having yet another monstrous season, scoring over 30 points in his last five games and placing himself right in the middle of MVP conversations. Embiid is single handedly keeping the Sixers afloat and we should expect another big game from the 7’0 big man out of Kansas.
The Sixers take on the Spurs Friday night at 7 pm in Philadelphia.
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire