Who: Oklahoma City Thunder (17-37) at Philadelphia 76ers (32-22)
When: 6:00 pm
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia Pa.
The Sixers welcome the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Wells Fargo Center tonight as they start a new chapter in basketball for the city. The days of wondering whether Ben Simmons would be traded are now gone and James Harden is officially a Sixer. This is a game featuring two teams going in opposite directions.
Tale of the Tape
The Thunder are in a full rebuild, having accumulated 15 first-round picks over the next four NBA drafts, while the Sixers just have two over the same time period, having just sent this season’s first-round pick in the deal that brought Harden to the team. Both teams will be short-handed as the Thunder have a long list of players that wont be suiting up.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been a bright spot for the Thunder this season, averaging 22.7 points per game as its only real viable star. Luguentz Dort has been contributing 17 points per game and Josh Giddey has chipped in with 12.1 as well. The Thunder, as part of their rebuild, just don’t put out a very good team each night, reminding the Sixers what is was like for a few years during the start of “The Process”.
The Thunder will be without Gilgeous-Alexander as well as Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Aaron Wiggins, and Mike Muscala. The team, which lacks true talent this season, is even more short-handed than usual and shouldn’t be a problem for the Sixers. The Thunder have an all-time record of 20-6 against the Sixers but, the Sixers have won the last four of those meetings.
The Sixers, having lost their last game 114-109 to the Phoenix Suns, will be looking to get back in the win column at home tonight. They’ll be shorthanded as well as starting shooting guard Seth Curry and reserve center, Andre Drummond were both sent to the New Jersey Nets as part of the Simmons-Harden deal. Harden, as well as newly acquired Paul Millsap, will not be suiting up for the Sixers. Shake Milton who’s been battling a back injury, is also out. Starting point guard and future star selection, Tyrese Maxey, is listed as day-to-day for the Sixers but looks to start on the already short handed Sixers.
Joel Embiid should be putting on a show tonight. He comes in to the game as one of the leading candidates for MVP this season as he’s averaging 29.4 points per game to lead the team and the league as well as 10.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists. Embiid, who had an amazing season last year, has been on a mission this season, showing the team, its fans, and the league that he’s one of the most dominant all-around players in the game today.
This game will be a tough one for the Sixers with their depleted roster as they await the arrival of Harden and Millsap but it shouldn’t be too hard on them as they’ll, more than likely, pull out a victory. Embiid, Harris, and Maxey, as well as Danny Green, Matisse Thybulle, and Georges Niang should be able to put together enough quality minutes to keep the Sixers ahead throughout.
This will be the Sixers first game since the huge trade to acquire James Harden and they get some luck having it come against a reeling Thunder team. Hopefully, the winning starts tonight and continues throughout late June.
With Embiid expected to have some fun tonight and dominate, I expect the Sixers to top the Thunder, 112-94.
Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire