Aside from who will emerge from the Western Conference play-in game(s) to face the Los Angeles Lakers, all of the NBA’s first-round playoff matchups are set, including the Philadelphia-Boston series set to tip off Monday night. First, though, the Sixers have to play out the string and finish the regular season with their eighth and final seeding game tonight against the Houston Rockets.
While Houston is slated to play Oklahoma City in the first round, a meeting devoid of some of its deliciousness with Russell Westbrook expected to miss a few games with his quad injury, the two teams would flip the 4- and 5-seeds with a Thunder loss and a Rockets win tonight. Obviously, home-court advantage in the Bubble really only means which video boards and music cues are used, but the Rockets would actually have something to play for tonight if OKC loses earlier in the evening.
There is a minor financial component for how seeds 4/5 (Houston/OKC and Miami/Indy) shake out.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) August 13, 2020
Ex: If OKC and MIA finish with the 4 seed, there is more $$$ to distribute between players and staff.
Houston: “(1...2...3...Slightly larger portion of the playoff money pool!)”
Otherwise, I’m not quite sure what to take away from tonight’s game. From the Sixers’ perspective, a best-case scenario is probably something similar to the game against Toronto, where the starting group looked terrific in the first half and the second half involved a lot of Marial Shayok. Joel Embiid is listed as questionable with his ankle injury, and between that and having needed X-rays on his hand during the last game, if he is to take the court at all, I want him looking like Jake Gyllenhaal in Bubble Boy.
Philadelphia’s number-one priority has to be getting Joel and every other player set to be part of the playoff rotation to Monday night healthy. Shayok’s scoring career-high is three points; he better quadruple that tonight. Sorry, referees, but Norvel Pelle is actually allowed 12 fouls tonight. Kyle O’Quinn was recently denied his first-career triple-double; we right that wrong against the Rockets.
Tune in tonight and watch the last Sixers basketball for some time that won’t cause crippling anxiety.
Philadelphia: Ben Simmons - out (knee); Joel Embiid - questionable (ankle); Glenn Robinson III - questionable (hip pointer); Alec Burks - questionable (foot); Zhaire Smith - out (knee)
Houston: Russell Westbrook - out (quad); P.J. Tucker - questionable (hand); Danuel House - questionable (toe)
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Houston Rockets
Where: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Orlando, FL (The Bubble)
When: 9:00pm ET
Watch: ESPN, NBC Sports Philadelphia
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic