The Philadelphia 76ers will look to break out of their current three-game losing streak on Friday as they head on the road to face the Houston Rockets. The Sixers could also be even more shorthanded than they already are without Matisse Thybulle, who is still listed as out with a bone bruise and a sprain in his right knee.
James Ennis (stomach illness) is listed as doubtful for Friday. He’s played in every game so far this season.
As for some more positive injury news, Joel Embiid, who was out in Philly’s latest game against the Indiana Pacers due to left knee soreness, was a full participant in Thursday’s practice.
The Sixers have announced that they’ve recalled Zhaire Smith from the Blue Coats. Smith will be with the Sixers in Houston on Friday.
I haven’t been watching Smith in the G League, so I can’t comment on how well he’s been performing lately. If you’re interested in his basic numbers, he’s averaging 13.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2 assists to 2.4 turnovers, 0.8 steals and 0.7 blocks in 27.1 minutes per game. He’s shooting 51.1 percent from the floor, 29.2 percent from three (3.7 attempts) and 75 percent from the free throw line.
If Ennis is out on Friday, this could be Smith’s best chance to get a few minutes of playing time. Based on what Smith showcased in Summer League and preseason, it’s safe to say he still has a lot of work to do to become a viable NBA role player. While his jumper has looked smoother at times and his confidence this summer was encouraging, he still has a long way to go to prove he can be relied upon to space the floor and be an adequate ball handler and passer.
The Sixers will be having their first game of the season against the Rockets on Friday, and a win is exactly what they need to bounce back from some tough losses and frustrations over low effort and accountability.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.