Ben Simmons will miss tonight’s contest against the Orlando Magic with a stomach issue. Per a tweet from the voice of the team, Marc Zumoff of NBCS Philadelphia, T.J. McConnell, on the day of his 27th birthday, will get the start in place of the second-year Aussie and 2019 All-Star out of LSU, as Simmons deals with gastroenteritis.
In addition, James Ennis III will miss this game with a right quad contusion. According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Shake Milton and Jonathon Simmons will see some action this evening.
The absence of B. Simmons is less than ideal as the Sixers look to close the door on teams like the Indiana Pacers and the Boston Celtics who would love nothing more than to improve their seeding for the playoffs over the few remaining games.
For the Sixers the playoffs will begin after their remaining 9 games, including tonight’s road battle in Orlando.
Shake Milton will get the chance to build upon his stellar G League performances as of late. Since missing time with a broken finger he has come back with a vengeance for the Blue Coats scoring 23 points or more in 9 of his last 10 contests per Noah Levick of NBCS Philadelphia. If he plays well he may have a chance to earn himself a new contract that would make him playoff eligible for the 76ers, something lots of fans would like to see given the team’s desperate need for more guards. That however, would have ramifications for how many years they could sign him to during this off-season.
It’s a significant opportunity for J. Simmons as well to take on his former team and to earn his way back into the Sixers’ rotation. Having since lost the reserve “tournament” coach Brett Brown often talks about, Simmons has been inactive as James Ennis won the battle for reserve minutes. Simmons is still a better defensive option than Ennis, although his limitations on the offensive end have been significant.
The Sixers were heading into Florida as 1.5 point favorites but now with the injury updates it’s the Magic who are 1 point favorites.
Philadelphia players might see former point guard Markelle Fultz in attendance as well, although Fultz will not be active as he continues to rehab from the thoracic outlet syndrome he was diagnosed with in his right shoulder.