Sixers look to sweep road trip against the Kings

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Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, left, and James Harden watch a free-throw attempt during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors, Monday, Dec. 19, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Philadelphia 76ers will be looking to close out their Western Conference road trip against the surging Sacramento Kings as the third-place teams in both the East and the West do battle tonight.

Sixers vs. Kings game info

Who: Philadelphia 76ers (29-16) at Sacramento Kings (26-18)

Where: Golden 1 Arena, Sacramento CA

When: 10:00 pm EST

Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia

Sixers vs. Kings betting info

Spread: Sixers -1.5 (-115) | Kings +1.5 (105)

Moneyline: Sixers -130 | Kings +110

Total: Over/Under 235

For the Sixers

Philadelphia enters the game on a four-game win streak, all coming on this current five-game road trip to the West. They’re hoping to close out the trip undefeated, but the last game is going to be a tough one against a surprisingly good Kings team.

It looks like the Sixers will be without guard James Harden, who’s listed as questionable on the injury report with right foot soreness that the team has also stated is a day for “injury management.” That doesn’t bode well for the Sixers, who’ve become almost unstoppable over the past month since Harden returned from missing a month with a foot injury.

The combination of Harden and center Joel Embiid has been operating like a well-oiled machine, and the Sixers have climbed all the way up to being tied for 2nd place in the Eastern Conference. If the Sixers win and the Bucks lose to the Cavaliers, the Sixers will be in sole possession of 2nd place in the conference.

Joel Embiid is going to have to have one of his best games tonight. He’s been running through the league the past month, but he’s playing against the Kings’ own star center, Domantas Sabonis. At 7’1″ and 240 lbs, Sabonis is one of the only centers in the league that can physically match up with Embiid. Without Harden, Embiid needs to be perfect tonight.

The team, without Harden, is going to have to get good nights from Tyrese Maxey, who always seems to step up in such situations, Tobias Harris, who’s been doing the same, and the combination of De’Anthony Melton and Shake Milton. The latter two will get more minutes and should be used to put some points o the board in Harden’s absence.

The one person that may see extended minutes but can’t be counted on to put many points up is Matisse Thybulle. Against a very good and athletic Kings team, they’ll need every bit of Thybulle’s defensive energy to control the Kings.

For the Kings

Sacramento may be a little tired after having beaten the Oklahoma City Thunder just last evening 118-113, but they’re riding their own six-game winning streak and have jumped themselves up to 3rd place in the Western Conference. The team has surpassed many with their all-around play this season.

As mentioned above, the team features center Domantas Sabonis, who’s having a fantastic season at age 26. Sabonis is currently second on the team in scoring at 18.8 points per game, but he’s leading the team in rebounds at 12.7 per game, as well as assists with 7.2 per game. He’s been the focal point of the Kings’ offense and defense and has been thriving in this position. He’s a huge-bodied player that could give Embiid some problems on the defensive side of the ball.

De’Aaron Fox is leading the Kings in scoring at 24 points per game, and they also have Kevin Huerter and Harrison Barnes both averaging just over 15 points per game.

The Kings have become one of the more well-rounded Western Conference teams this season and have been a problem to play for quite a few teams.

What to expect

The Kings have the league’s third-best offensive efficiency going against a Sixers team with the fourth-best defensive rating. Where the Sixers thrive is in the three-point defense, where they’re currently the 2nd best defensive team in the league, in that category. While Sacramento is 10th in three-point percentage in the league, they jump all the way up to third in the league at home. To say this could be a very tough game for the Sixers is an understatement, as it’s two of the league’s hottest teams and the Kings have that home-court advantage.

While Sabonis and Embiid can be counted on to perform their usual theatrics, the key to this game is which of the teams’ secondary players steps up. The Kings have quite a few that can light up the scoreboard, but the Sixers have that as well. This game should be close right down to the very end, but without James Harden, the Sixers may see their win streak stopped at four games.


Sixers – 123 Kings – 121

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