The James Harden-Ben Simmons rumors were heating up to ghost pepper levels last night, but after a firm statement from Daryl Morey denying Simmons’ availability in trade discussions, we are back in a holding pattern as the Sixers get ready for their second and final preseason game in Indiana. Nearly everything went well in Philadelphia’s preseason-opening win over the Celtics Tuesday night: Joel Embiid looked energized and dominant in the flow of the offense, veteran acquisitions like Danny Green and Dwight Howard fit in seamlessly, and young guys like Shake Milton and Tyrese Maxey showed out in a big way.
So after having achieved some minor degree of revenge against Boston, the Sixers will look to do the same against a Pacers squad that, in their last meeting, beat Philadelphia 127-121 in the Bubble. Most fans will remember that game as when T.J. Warren went Super Saiyan and dropped 53 points. Fortunately for Philadelphia’s prospects of winning tonight, Warren will be sitting out with plantar fasciitis. My money is on Justin Holiday to be the random Pacers wing to catch fire from behind the arc in his stead. We’re still awaiting word on Myles Turner, who sat out the Pacers’ last preseason game on Monday with an illness. I sure would love to see Embiid throw Turner through the meat grinder for a few minutes so I’m hoping Myles feels well enough to take the court.
Otherwise, not much has changed from the Celtics preseason game. One thing to watch for will be who will help themselves in earning the last spot or two in the 10-man regular season rotation. Shake Milton, Dwight Howard, and Furkan Korkmaz appear to be locks among the bench crew, and Mike Scott is really the only option as a traditional backup 4. Under those assumptions, there would only be one slot left for Matisse Thybulle or Tyrese Maxey. I’d like to see Doc Rivers get a little more creative about positional designations and omit Scott from the rotation, but that doesn’t appear to be how things will initially shake out.
We’ve only just gotten our first glimpse of this new-look Sixers roster, but this is the last chance to watch them in action before the games start counting on Wednesday. Tune in at 6:00pm for some early evening entertainment.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Indiana Pacers (preseason)
When: 6:00pm ET
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic
Injuries: Indiana: Jeremy Lamb - out (torn ACL); T.J. Warren - out (plantar fasciitis); Myles Turner - questionable (illness); Goga Bitadze - questionable (ankle); JaKarr Sampson - questionable (back); Brian Bowan - out (groin)
Philadelphia: Marc Zumoff - out (recovering from back surgery)