Sixers Set to Face-off Against Reeling Kings

NBA: MAR 01 76ers at Clippers
LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 01: Philadelphia 76ers Forward Tobias Harris (12) looks on during a NBA game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Clippers on March 1, 2020 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

The Sixers welcome the reeling Sacramento Kings to Philadelphia on Saturday night as Philly looks for its fourth consecutive win. Although they’re professionals, I’m sure they’re not looking forward to playing the Sixers. Philadelphia comes into the game having won nine of their last twelve while the Kings have just two victories over the same time period.

The Sixers, while getting healthy, have taken off behind the MVP caliber play of Joel Embiid. He’s currently averaging 28.9 points per game to go along with 10.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists. Add that to a block and a half per game and a steal per game, and there are not many people that can say they’re doing what Embiid is this season. He’s been an absolute beast and has taken his game to a new level of late. I don’t think that the Kings, nor starting center Richaun Holmes, are looking forward to playing against Embiid, especially at home in Philadelphia.

The Kings will be hoping that Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes can pull some of the weight normally tasked to guard De’Aaron Fox, who is still recovering from an ankle injury. Hield has played well this season and is averaging 14.9 points, while Barnes is at 16.5 points per game to go along with 6 rebounds. They’re definitely missing the 21 points per game that Fox puts up, as well as his energy, playmaking, and defense.

In their most recent game, the Kings lost to the Hawks but had a good game from rookie guard Davion Mitchell who contributed 20 points and 6 assists while getting thirty minutes on the floor, something he usually doesn’t see when Fox is starting.

The Sixers are coming off a Thursday night victory over the Lakers (105-87) that saw Embiid put up pedestrian numbers by his standards as he finished with 26 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. What Philadelphia has seen lately is a resurgence of Tobias Harris. He’s averaging 18.7 points per game for the season, Harris hasn’t been playing as well as last year or as well as he’d hoped; but, over the past five games, Harris has upped his scoring to 23 points per game. The big key for him, as well as the Sixers, has been his shooting. He’s been shooting 58% from the floor and 57% from three-point land. While those numbers are impossible to hold up for the remainder of the season, they’re encouraging as the team heads into the second half go the year and potentially the playoffs.

Where the Sixers have really been surprised is the emergence of point guard Tyrese Maxey, who was thrown into the starting point guard role at the start of the season, and he hasn’t looked back. Maxey had 14 points against the Lakers to go along with seven rebounds and then a career-high ten assists. Maxey has looked like a steal from the last season’s draft, and his relationship with Embiid has really blossomed throughout this season. The way he’s developed has made it easier for the Sixers to accept that Ben Simmons won’t be playing for them.

This game, while entertaining for the fans, won’t be much fun for the Kings. The Sixers should have no problem winning; it’s just a matter of how good they’ll let the Kings look in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter. Look for Embiid to continue to dominate and Harris to continue his improved shooting.

Final Score Prediction: Sixers – 121 Kings – 96

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