It's the first back-to-back of the season for the Philadelphia 76ers, and to no one surprise, Joel Embiid will not play tonight against the Toronto Raptors.
The news of his absence broke mere minutes before one of the worst games of Embiid's career: A 4-for-16 performance that included an 0-for-6 showing from beyond the arc. All-world shooter J.J. Redick (team-high 19 points) and Jerryd Bayless (18 points) picked up the slack, but they were the only two Sixers to score more than 12 points on Friday.
Without Embiid, Brett Brown will need to come up with a scheme to take down a potent Toronto offense that poured in 117 points in a victory over the hapless Chicago Bulls on Thursday. The Raptors got 48 points from their bench in the win, including 22 from C.J. Miles (who finished the night 6-for-9 from beyond the arc).
Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will create havoc on the offensive end, but, like most other teams, Toronto really doesn't have an answer for the 6-10 matchup problem named Ben Simmons. God bless Serge Ibaka, but an aggressive Simmons should be able to get to his spots much like we saw in the first two games this season.
At some point, the Sixers have to make some marks on the left side of the ledger, but tonight might be a tough ask.
Game time: 7:30 ET, NBC Sports Philly; pre-game starts at 7:00, along with our game thread. FYI: NBA League Pass is free through October 24, so if you're outside of the Philadelphia metro area, please feel free to take advantage
- There are other sporting events of note kicking off at 7:30 PM ET tonight (Michigan vs. Penn State, USC vs. Notre Dame), so if you choose not to hang with us for this one, we understand.
- Given the lack of a certain 7-2 center, we'll probably see the debut of one Jahlil Okafor tonight. For what it's worth, Nik Stauskas hasn't seen any burn in the first two games of the season, either.
- Depth will sorely be needed this evening: Both teams like to run, but a Raptors team just one game into their season figures to have fresher legs than a team playing its third game in four nights.
- 76ers' center Amir Johnson is the Raptors' all-time leader in field goal percentage (57.2 percent). Impress the folks at the water cooler with that stat on Monday.
- The last time these two teams met (4/2/17), Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot led the Sixers with 23 points. Lowry, Embiid, Okafor and Robert Covington all missed that game for various reasons.
- Per our good friend Derek Bodner, Markelle Fultz hasn't attempted a shot outside of 14 feet this season.