Sixers vs. Rockets: How to watch, betting preview & predictions

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Sixers
Philadelphia 76ers’ Tyrese Maxey (0) reacts past Sacramento Kings’ Sasha Vezenkov (7) after making a shot during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Houston Rockets are in Philly today, hoping to take down a shorthanded Philadelphia 76ers team in an MLK Day matinee matchup. The Sixers are coming off a huge win over the Sacramento Kings on Friday while missing both Joel Embiid and Kelly Oubre Jr. The Rockets are in the midst of a six-game road trip where they’ve only won one game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Sixers vs. Rockets Game Info

Who: Houston Rockets (19-19) at Philadelphia 76ers (24-13)

When: 1:00 pm EST

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

Watch: AT&T SportsNet Southwest, NBA TV, NBC Sports Philadelphia

Sixers vs Kings betting info

Spread: Houston Rockets +7.5 | Philadelphia 76ers -7.5
Moneyline: Sacramento Kings +245 | Philadelphia 76ers -305
Total: Over/under 227.5

Latest on the Sixers

Sixers
Philadelphia 76ers’ Tobias Harris, left, dunks past Sacramento Kings’ Chris Duarte during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Sixers are home and it’s not been the best start to the new year with injuries. Joel Embiid has been upgraded to questionable for the game after missing seven of the Sixers’ last nine games with knee and ankle issues. Philadelphia will also be without Robert Covington, who hasn’t played since December 30th with a knee injury, DeAnthony Melton, who’s out with a back injury, as well as Mo Bamba and Kenny Lofton Jr., who are both listed as out.

Embiid was a full participant at practice on Sunday and did some extra conditioning work after the session, while Oubre was a full participant and isn’t listed on the injury report after being a late scratch on Friday.

The Sixers, against the Kings, has a huge game from Tobias Harris, whose come back strong of late after early-season struggles. Harris led the team with 37 points and 7 rebounds, while guard Tyrese Maxey had 21 points on 6-17 shooting. They’re going to need similar games from the two if they’re to beat the Rockets.

With Melton out, Philadelphia may lean on Pat Beverley as well as Jaden Springer and Daniel House if they’re to keep up with the Rockets. There’s a lot to be concerned with for the Sixers with the injuries piling up of late, hopefully, they’re able to get healthy and remain that way through the end of the year.

Latest on the Rockets

Sixers
Houston Rockets center Alperen Sengun (28) shoots over the defense of Detroit Pistons center Jalen Duren (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

The Rockets are currently in 10th place in the Western Conference and have had a bad run of luck lately, especially on the road. They’re 4-13 this season on the road and may wind up running into a Sixers team that could have Joel Embiid back on the court. They have enough firepower and talent that they’re able to be a problem for a depleted Sixers team.

The Rockets are led by center Alperen Sengun who’s leading the team with 21.7 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. He’s been having a great season and is a huge piece for the Rockets going forward. If Philadelphia doesn’t have Embiid, Sengun could have a huge game as the Sixers will also be without Mo Bamba. After Sengun, the Rockets have Jalen Green, Fred VanVleet, Dillon Brooks, Jabari Smith Jr., Cam Whitmore, and Tari Eason to deal with.

The Rockets feature five players scoring over 10 points a game and two more just under that threshold. They can get points in bunches and have the seventh-best defensive unit in the league. Against a depleted Sixers team, the Rockets could get moving and be a real problem for Philly.

What to watch for

Sixers
Philadelphia 76ers’ Tyrese Maxey, left, goes up for a shot against Sacramento Kings’ Domantas Sabonis during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Rockets are not a bad team but the NBA hasn’t given them much national exposure. With today’s national game against the Sixers, that changes. With the Sixers possibly down two starters, the Rockets could show out on the national stage and get back above .500 for the season.

If the Sixers are to win, they’re going to need big games from Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris who’ve both been showing up of late, with the absence of Joel Embiid. On national TV, Maxey can give a glimpse at what Sixers fans have seen all season as he’s moved into a top spot among young players in the league.

What today’s game really comes down to is if Embiid plays and if the combination of Maxey and Harris can shoot at a high rate, giving the depleted Sixers a chance at beating a very tough Rockets team. While the national audience will get a good show of the young Rockets squad, they’ll also get a good look at a different Sixers team than in the past. Philadelphia’s depth will come into play today and they’ll be looking for quality minutes from some of their younger bench players as head coach Nick Nurse will be forced to use up more of his bench.

Prediction

Sixers 121 – Rockets 113