Sixers Look To Topple League-Leading Suns

Sixers C Joel Embiid
CHICAGO, IL – FEBRUARY 06: Philadelphia 76ers Center Joel Embiid (21) waits for the play to set during a NBA game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Chicago Bulls on February 6, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire)

After an exciting victory over the Chicago Bulls, Joel Embiid and the Sixers turn their attention to Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns. This game may shape up to be the 76ers’ most difficult matchup yet as the Suns lead the league with a record of 43-10. Chris Paul has inserted his name somewhere in the MVP conversation, and both Paul and Devin Booker have been named 2022 All-Stars.

The stars (minus Ben Simmons) will all be available tonight by the look of it however, both teams have several key role players showing up on the injury report:


Injury Report

For the Sixers, the most important name that shows up is Matisse Thybulle, who is once again questionable with shoulder soreness. With Devin Booker quietly putting up MVP numbers, the Sixers frankly need Thybulle as they look to slow down the Suns’ electric scoring machine. Shake Milton also continues to be out as he continues to recover from a back injury while Paul Reed and Jaden Springer are leading the Delaware Blue Coats, so they are out for tonight as well.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns’ most significant loss comes in the form of backup point guard Cameron Payne. A key player for the Suns’ trip to the NBA finals last season, Payne has put together a solid season as he continues to play an impactful role on one of the NBA’s top defenses. Phoenix will also be without Landry Shamet and Frank Kaminsky tonight, who, while they aren’t world-beaters, have provided an offensive boost when they’ve been available.

Sixers

Matisse Thybulle – Questionable (Shoulder Soreness)

Shake Milton – Out (Back)

Paul Reed – Out (G League)

Jaden Springer – Out (G League)

Ben Simmons – Out (Still Packing for Brooklyn Hopefully)

Phoenix

Abdel Nader – Out (Knee)

Landry Shamet – Out (Ankle)

Cameron Payne – Out (Wrist)

Frank Kaminsky – Out (Knee)

Dario Saric – Out (Torn ACL)


Matchup to Watch: Joel Embiid Versus Deandre Ayton

Frankly, it feels like cheating to include Embiid as the matchup to watch. Joel Embiid is the current embodiment of the Philadelphia 76ers, and the team lives and dies by his performance, sometimes even dying despite his performance. Tonight’s matchup, though, will be an exciting one as it’s one that Embiid seems to be prepared for every time these two centers meet.

While Joel Embiid only boasts a record of 2-2 against Ayton, his individual performance is nothing short of dominant. Averaging 37 points, 15 rebounds, and two steals in four matchups, Joel Embiid has consistently shown Ayton that there’s nothing he can do to stop the MVP candidate. Unfortunately, Embiid’s dominance does not guarantee a win according to history, but if the rest of the team can at least function, there’s a real chance the Sixers could upset the Suns as Embiid once against scores 30, maybe even 40+ points.


When, Where, How?

The Sixers will tip-off against the Suns at 7:00 PM EST in Philly. You can catch the game on NBC Sports Philadelphia or listen live if you prefer at 97.5 FM The Fanatic.

Philadelphia is currently a one-point underdog to Phoenix, likely just some love for the home team. It’s hopeful, though, that Vegas seems to be confident in at least the Sixers making this game close.

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