What happens in Canada, stays in Canada.
The Sixers would be wise to adopt such a mantra following Monday night’s grisly affair that saw them blow a six-point lead to the Raptors in the final minutes of the game, all while Joel Embiid went scoreless for the first time in his career. Fortunately, Philadelphia left Scotiabank Arena and its associated memories of a ball bouncing four times on the rim behind them when passing through customs, and Brett Brown’s club will return to the friendly confines of the Wells Fargo Center tonight.
The Sixers still maintain a pristine 7-0 record at home this season, most recently working the Miami Heat like a punching bag Saturday night for a 113-86 victory, arguably Philadelphia’s most dominant effort of the year. Tonight, they’ll host the Sacramento Kings, who are now led by former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton.
Following an 0-5 start to the season, the Kings have turned things around a bit and sit at 7-9, most recently suffering a one-point defeat in Boston Monday night, despite Buddy Hield scorching the nets with 11 3s on his way to a career-high 41 points.
Kudos to the Kings for remaining competitive despite two of their young cornerstone pieces, De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley, both being sidelined for weeks due to injury. In their stead, Hield has been a consistent presence, shooting 39.6 percent from 3 in leading the Kings in scoring at 20.4 points per game. However, it has been two guys who started the year coming off the bench who have really stepped up their games: Bogdan Bogdanovic and former Process Sixer Richaun Holmes.
Bogdanovic, a 2020 restricted free agent, has been outstanding in a point-forward role. In the six games he has played since Fox’s injury, the 6-foot-6 Serbian wing has averaged 20.0 points on 39.2 percent shooting from 3, 3.0 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 2.0 steals. He has worked his way into a huge payday during a 2020 Free Agency period light on top-end talent, and with the Kings having Harrison Barnes’ head-scratching contract on the books, Hield just signed to an extension, and future extensions for Fox and Bagley to consider, it’s likely Bogdan will be playing elsewhere next fall.
Meanwhile, Holmes has become everything Process truthers could have hoped for him prior to being traded to Phoenix for cash. In Holmes’ 15 games since Bagley went down, the pastor’s son has averaged 12.1 points on 67.2 percent shooting, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks. All the energy we came to love in Philadelphia is still present, with Richaun also harnessing his rim protection potential — opponents are shooting just 53.8 percent around the rim with Richaun defending this season.
Nevertheless, the Sixers are still clearly the better team, particularly with a healthy starting lineup and the Kings missing two of their best players. I’d expect Joel Embiid to put Monday night’s aberration behind him and go to work against his old training buddy like they’re back at PCOM. 41-0 at home — let’s get it.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Sacramento Kings
When: 7:00 pm ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic
Philadelphia: Kyle O’Quinn (questionable - calf)
Sacramento: De’Aaron Fox (out - ankle); Marvin Bagley (out - thumb); Trevor Ariza (out - personal)