After a joyous start to the 2020-21 season, the Philadelphia 76ers have hit a rough patch with half the roster sidelined by injuries and COVID-19 health and safety protocols. The team played with only seven available players in Saturday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets, and Joel Embiid took to social media to express his displeasure with the league postponing yesterday’s Celtics-Heat game after having not done so for Philadelphia.
THEY HATE THE PROCESS— Joel “Troel” Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) January 10, 2021
Embiid, who said he will be self-quarantining from his family until he can be certain he didn’t contract the virus, sat out the game against Denver due to back stiffness, but has been upgraded to probable for tonight’s contest. Mike Scott is also expected to return to action after missing the last five games with a knee injury. However, Ben Simmons did not travel with the team and will be out tonight to receive treatment on his knee, an issue that popped up out of nowhere when he was announced as out just prior to the Nuggets game.
Furkan Korkmaz remains out with an abductor strain and all the players in the health and safety protocol — Seth Curry, Tobias Harris, Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle, Vincent Poirier, and Terrance Ferguson — remain out tonight. At best, the Sixers will have nine players available to face Atlanta, and we’ll likely once again see the ball in rookie Tyrese Maxey’s hands a good amount, fresh off his scintillating 39-point performance Saturday.
The Hawks are going through some issues themselves, losers of four straight and with some fracturing in the locker room, according to a recent report in The Athletic.
“John Collins, the fourth-year big man who just weeks before bet on himself in a big way during his failed extension talks with the Hawks, shared his unfiltered and unhappy views about the way franchise centerpiece Trae Young was running the offense. According to three sources who were either in the session or had knowledge of what was said, Collins raised several issues about the way these Hawks were functioning with Young at the helm.
Collins talked about the need to get into offensive sets more quickly and to limit all those early shot-clock attempts that leave his teammates on the outside looking in. He shared his desire to be more involved and expressed a desire for more ball involvement and flow on offense.”
Imagine the field day the vulture-like segment of the Philadelphia media would have had if any such opinion had ever been expressed between Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. We’ve seen such a rift between two stars knock down many a franchise.
“Capela, the 26-year-old who was acquired from Houston at last season’s trade deadline, had seen a similar act unfold before during the Dwight Howard-James Harden era with the Houston Rockets. Sources say Capela’s message focused on that cautionary tale, how Howard’s demands for the ball along with Harden’s reluctance to give it up more freely widened the divide between them and led to collective failure.”
Former Sixers assistant coach Lloyd Pierce would certainly seem to have his hands full in keeping that roster from spiraling into complete dysfunction. At least the Sixers’ problems will hopefully resolve themselves in 7-to-10 days. Fingers crossed for both Embiid and Scott to return to action tonight, allowing Doc Rivers to resume some semblance of a normal rotation.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Atlanta Hawks
When: 7:30pm ET
Where: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic
Philadelphia: Joel Embiid - probable (back); Mike Scott - probable (knee); Ben Simmons - out (knee); Furkan Korkmaz - out (groin); Seth Curry - out (COVID-19); Tobias Harris - out (safety protocol); Shake Milton - out (safety protocol); Matisse Thybulle - out (safety protocol); Vincent Poirier - out (safety protocol); Terrance Ferguson - out (safety protocol)
Atlanta: Trae Young - probable (wrist); Kevin Huerter - probable (ankle); Bogdan Bogdanovic - out (knee); Danilo Gallinari - out (ankle); Kris Dunn - out (ankle); Onyeka Okongwu - out (foot); Rajon Rondo - out (knee)