The Sixers will put their near-invincibility at home to the test tonight, as they host the 37-16 Los Angeles Clippers in their final game before the All-Star break. Beating the Grizzlies and Bulls the last two games is all well and good, but defeating a nearly full-strength Clippers squad (Patrick Beverley is the only Clipper currently ruled out for tonight’s contest) would really give fans something positive to think about over the nine-day layoff.
And boy, do we need something positive to think about here in Philadelphia. The media-powers-that-be have determined that not only does booing in this city need to be discussed, but also shushing fans in response to said booing. It’s the most idiotic thing going on around Philadelphia sports, until the next idiotic thing. Joel Embiid has gone back into full troll mode, but not every Sixers fan finds it quite as lovable when the trolling is directed inwards.
I’m sure this is going to go over well pic.twitter.com/zUTrwW9Vqd— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) February 11, 2020
Sigh. What would it be look to follow a normal team? We may never know.
In matters that actually pertain to on-court action, tonight is the first time the Sixers will face Kawhi Leonard since he stabbed Philadelphia four times through the heart last May. When he is not sitting for load management reasons, Kawhi has been as dominant as ever this season, averaging 27.1 points on 46.4 percent shooting, career-highs of 7.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists, and 1.9 steals. Paul George has settled back nicely into being one of the top second options in the league, shooting 39.9 percent from 3 on 8.6 attempts per game. And as if their forward rotation wasn’t strong enough, Los Angeles went out and acquired Marcus Morris at the trade deadline.
The Sixers will have both of their trade deadline acquisitions playing tonight, as Alec Burks will see the court after Glenn Robinson III made his Sixers season debut on Sunday. It will help to have an extra body in Robinson to throw at the Clippers’ star wings, although a Philadelphia victory may have to come via the interior. Many NBA analysts felt the Clippers would try to make a move to upgrade their center rotation, because for all the outstanding things Montrezl Harrell does on the court, he is very undersized. His 13.4 DREB% is terrible for a big man. Obviously, LA’s big wings provide a lot of help on the glass, but if Embiid can play like the All-Star starter he is, it could provide problems for the Clippers’ preferred closing five.
We saw the Sixers use home-court advantage to take down the other team from LA just a couple weeks ago, but that was a slightly unusual situation where the Lakers were at the end of a long road trip and LeBron passing Kobe on the all-time scoring list was somewhat of a distraction. The Clippers are as well-rested as a team could be playing across the country, and with the All-Star break just a few days away, have no reason to go full bore tonight. Let’s see just how powerful the Sixers’ home-court advantage can be.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Los Angeles Clippers
When: 7:00 pm ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic
Los Angeles: Patrick Beverley (out - groin)