The Philadelphia 76ers are finally back in town following a six-game road trip that saw them go 2-4, dropping to 10-9 on the season and falling into a tie for eighth in the Eastern Conference as of this writing. Considering the team was without Joel Embiid for the entirety of the West Coast swing, had Danny Green out for four games, and saw Tobias Harris and Seth Curry miss time, a 2-4 trip isn’t all that bad. Even better, Embiid is looking more and more likely to make his return from his COVID-related absence. Like Tobias Harris, Embiid was reported to have dealt with symptoms from the virus. How quickly Joel can ramp up his conditioning having not played since November 6 will certainly be something to watch.
Normally, we would view Minnesota as a soft landing spot coming off a difficult stretch, but these Wolves enter tonight on a five-game winning streak to get back to 9-9 on the season. Karl-Anthony Towns has a .498/.442/.843 shooting split that seems drastically unfair coming from a seven-footer. His 22.7 points per game are barely topped by the 22.8 ppg from Anthony Edwards, who in addition to shooting 36.0 percent from 3 on 9.1(!) attempts per game is doing stuff like this:
It didn't count but ... THIS DUNK FROM ANTHONY EDWARDS pic.twitter.com/mBzIBbPRaj— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 25, 2021
I mean, what?!?
Luckily, the Sixers have their own dynamic young guard to unleash. Tyrese Maxey has done more than his fair share to make up for his teammates’ absences, now averaging 18.7 points per game on the season, with 4.6 assists against just 1.2 turnovers. No one has anything but glowing praise for the 21-year-old right now, and even people who cover the game outside of Philadelphia are starting to ruminate on whether Maxey should be entering the All-Star conversation. After crawling through a river of sh*t in terms of the point guard position, the Sixers have finally come out clean with Tyrese Maxey leading the way.
The first game back home after long road trips can sometimes serve as letdown spots, and we’re still not 100 percent sure Joel Embiid will be back or if Tobias Harris will play, as he is listed as questionable with his hip soreness. The Wolves are playing at the top of their games at the moment, so victory tonight is by no means assured. But the Sixers have come up with wins in less advantageous spots this season, an Embiid return could provide a huge lift, and I’m sure the home crowd will be rocking after a long time away. Good to be back to Sixers basketball in the Eastern time zone. Let’s go.