The Philadelphia 76ers host the New Orleans Pelicans Friday night less than 24 hours after a road win against the Boston Celtics (115-109). Suiting up with the visiting team is former Sixer JJ Redick, making tonight’s game Redick’s first in the Wells Fargo Center since signing with the Pelicans. He and the Pelicans will attempt to spoil the Sixers’ perfect home record of 13-0.
The Pelicans enter the match up at 6-19, sitting way down at 14th in the Western Conference. It’s been a disappointing start for a team that while rebuilding, looked like it had the potential to be in the mix for an 8th seed. Most unfortunate of all, Zion Williamson, the team’s no. 1 overall pick in this past June’s NBA Draft, had to undergo surgery to repair a torn meniscus just before the season tipped-off. He’s been rehabbing and according to Marc Stein of the New York Times, some members of the Pelicans organization have ‘resigned’ to the idea that Zion’s return may have to wait until the new year. (That makes absolutely perfect sense to me.)
As for players the Sixers will need to deal with this evening, Brandon Ingram has thrived this season after escaping what was a dysfunctional situation with the Los Angeles Lakers. Ingram is scoring 24.9 points per game on 60.1% true shooting to go with 7.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists. Ingram went no. 2 overall in the 2015 NBA Draft, just after the Sixers selected Ben Simmons, who likewise has shown a leap this season but more so on the defensive end. It could be a fun head-to-head if the two are matched up at any point.
But the main story line of this game centers around JJ Redick’s return. Redick is averaging 15.7 points per game while shooting a blazing 44.8% from three on 7.3 attempts. His return comes in the shadow of recent comments from Joel Embiid that he’s not having a whole lot of fun yet this season. Redick, of course, was one of Embiid’s closer friends on the team and his game was an ideal complement to Jo’s. But sometimes, teams need to make sacrifices in pursuit of a title, and Josh Richardson has essentially replaced Redick’s role. Richardson has been solid offensively and a revelation on defense. He’ll likely be assigned to Redick at times throughout the game.
Al Horford’s status for tonight’s game is unclear after sitting out against the Celtics in what would have figured to be an emotionally charged game for Horford. Other than Williamson and possibly Horford, both teams should have their starting lineups for this one.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. New Orleans Pelicans
When: 7:00 pm ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia PA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic