The Philadelphia 76ers are returning home after a disastrous five-game road trip that saw them lose four games in a row before finally beating the Utah Jazz on Thursday night, 127-124. Without Joel Embiid, the Sixers continue to lean heavily on first-time All-Star Tyrese Maxey. Meanwhile, the Nets coming into Philadelphia after losing their last game to the Phoenix Suns, 136-120.
Sixers game information
Who: Brooklyn Nets (19-28) at Philadelphia 76ers (30-17)
When: 6:00 pm EST
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia PA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBA League Pass, YES Network
The latest on the Sixers
The Sixers are coming off a win against the Utah Jazz where Tyrese Maxey came back from an injury to score a career high 51 points on the same day he was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team for the first time in his career. This season has been a breakout season for Maxey as he’s shown that he’s a perfect complement to reigning MVP Joel Embiid. Maxey is 14th in the league in scoring at 26.3 points per game and is adding 3.6 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game as well. His All-Star selection is well deserved.
For the Sixers, that’s the best news they could have had as they’re dealing with another Joel Embiid injury. This time, Embiid is dealing with an injured meniscus in his left knee that was injured or injured more when Jonathan Kuminga fell on the leg in the game against the Warriors. Embiid has battled ankle and knee injuries over the past month and faced heavy criticism for missing games, especially agains the Nuggets in Denver.
The prevailing logic is that Embiid forced his way onto the floor against the Warriors and delisted the medical staff, wanting him to sit out. That decision, even though it’s ultimately up to the Sixers medical staff, looks like it will cost Embiid significant time away from the court as well as ending his chances at repeating as league MVP, despite the fact that he’s having the best season of his career.
It’s the perfect storm catastrophe for the Sixers, who are one of the best teams in the league when Embiid is healthy and on the court and looks like a lottery team when he’s out. In addition to Embiid, the Sixers are still without starting guard DeAnthony Melton who’s been out almost a month with a bad injury and is set to return on Monday, barring any setbacks. As well, they’re still missing Robert Covington with a knee injury, and Nico Batum and Marcus Morris Sr. are both listed as questionable. The Sixers are fighting injuries and have slipped to fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
The Latest on the Nets
The Nets are coming into Philadelphia having just lost, at home, to the Phoenix Suns 136- 120 on Wednesday night. The Nets are led by Mikal Bridges, the former Sixers draft pick who was traded on draft night and shipped from Phoenix to the Nets last season as part of the Kevin Durant deal. On the season, Bridges is averaging 21.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.7 assists as the featured star on the Nets team.
The big story will be the reception that former 1st overall pick from the Sixers, Ben Simmons, will receive as he’s listed as “probable” on the latest injury report, having missed Wednesday’s game. Simmons returned to action on Monday for the Nets win over the Utah Jazz. In the game, Simmons saw 18 minutes of playing time but finished with 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 11 assists. The best version of Ben Simmons can provide a nearly nightly triple-double but Simmons hasn’t been close to the best version of himself since his second season in the league all the way back in the 2018 season.
The Nets will also be without Dorian Finney-Smith who’s battling a left ankle sprain. With players like Cam Thomas, Cameron Johnson, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Nic Clayton, the Nets still have a good amount of talent on the roster, they’ve just not been able to put it together this season. This has led to speculation on the availability of players like Bridges, Finney-Smith, and Thomas at the trade deadline. Simmons name has popped up as well in trade reports but that’s mainly as contract filler at this point in his career.
What to watch for tonight
The Sixers and especially Maxey will be looking to show up big for the hometown crowd after such a disappointing road trip and the loss of Embiid. Maxey, recently selected to his first All-Star game and fresh off his career high scoring night, should be in line for another big night.
The Sixers are going to need every ounce of energy and every bit of scoring to get past the Nets team without Joel Embiid. Having Tobias Harris back in the lineup should surely help, as he contributed 28 points in the Sixers’ win over the Jazz, and Kelly Oubre Jr. chipped in 16 points. They’ll need more than that tonight against the Nets because they can’t ask Maxey to score 50 points during every game.
The real fun should be in the stands tonight as the Philadelphia faithful will be out in full force to make sure that Ben Simmons knows how they feel about him, his exit from the team, and how he gave up on the Sixers. While the game should be exciting, the Sixers should come out on top, and the fans will have the best time giving Simmons a hard time every time that he touches the ball.
Sixers 123 – Nets 115