The Sixers lost another game yesterday where half their roster would be playing minutes in the G League under normal circumstances. Aside from Tyrese Maxey and the rest of the youngsters gaining valuable experience, the only positive thing to come from the blowout loss to Atlanta was Joel Embiid taking a seat for good midway through the third quarter. With the second half of a back-to-back on tap tonight back home in Philadelphia, that rest should prove helpful.
Philadelphia may also receive a big boost with Ben Simmons’ return to the lineup, as Doc Rivers expressed hope yesterday that the wonder from Down Under would be back on the court tonight after missing the last two games with a knee injury. Adam Silver has dispatched every available investigative resource to discover whether Ben was actually receiving treatment on his knee yesterday.
Fortunately for the Sixers’ chances of winning tonight, and unfortunately for the entertainment value of watching this game and the overall health of the players and staff involved, the Miami Heat are in a similar roster crunch due to COVID-19 protocols as Philadelphia. Eight Heat players, including stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, are out tonight under medical and safety protocols. The two teams taking the floor tonight will be without a combined 14 players from that designation. Wasn’t the whole point of not scheduling the second half of the season yet to allow these sorts of games to be postponed? I’m so glad the NBA is putting its best product forward.
With Embiid available and Simmons’ potential return, the Sixers might find themselves having the same unfair roster advantage as their past two opponents. Maybe the scales will balance ever so slightly with Philadelphia able to tally an asterisk win tonight, a thought I reserve the right to rescind if Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson combine to hit 15 3s.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat
When: 7:00pm ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic
Philadelphia: Ben Simmons - questionable (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)
Miami: Jimmy Butler - out (safety protocol); Bam Adebayo - out (safety protocol); Avery Bradley - out (safety protocol); Goran Dragic - out (safety protocol); Maurice Harkless - out (safety protocol); Udonis Haslem - out (safety protocol); Kendrick Nunn - out (safety protocol); KZ Okpala - out (safety protocol); Meyers Leonard - questionable (shoulder); Gabe Vincent - probable (knee); Kelly Olynyk - probable (groin)