The Sixers have played their last two games without Joel Embiid, but it hasn’t mattered: the Sixers are 2-0 with margins of victory of 10 and 17 points against the Hawks and the Hornets, respectively. Embiid wasn’t the only key cog missing against the Hornets, and he won’t be the only one missing against the Nets. Dario Saric is out for the second straight game thanks to an infection on his elbow.
In Embiid’s absence, Simmons has stepped up with a triple-double in the Hawks game, and a historic line of 20 points, 15 assists, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks. He’s wreaking havoc on both sides of the floor, and opponents simply haven’t had an answer.
The Nets are a woeful 25-52, and a less bad but still not very good 4-6 in their last 10. But with the Nets’ pick outside of their possession in the upcoming draft, the Sixers shouldn’t expect the Nets to lay down for them.
The Sixers — without Joel Embiid and Dario Saric — are an 8 point favorite tonight. If that notion carries over into reality, the Sixers would end the night with a record of 47-30. The Cleveland Cavaliers, who have held a 0.5 game lead over the Sixers in the standings for what feels like an eternity, welcome our neighbors to the north tonight, the conference-leading Toronto Raptors. If the Raptors can defeat the Cavs, the Sixers will have sole ownership of 3rd place for the time being.
Here’s what’s especially important to consider about the Cavs/Raptors game: the Raptors now hold just a 2 game lead over the Celtics for 1st place in the Eastern Conference AND take on the Celtics tomorrow! Stay with me: the Celtics play (the Bucks) tonight too! Meaning that the Raptors really can’t afford to lose to Cleveland tonight, because a loss tonight and tomorrow for the Raptors, combined with the Celtics winning tonight, allows the Celtics to tie the Raptors for 1st place.
So to be concise: the Sixers need to take care of business tonight, because their stars may align.
Time: 7:00 pm
Place: Wells Fargo Center
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
Vegas: -8 Sixers