The Good Vibes Sixers finally reached their breaking point. After Joel Embiid joined teammates Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle, and Isaiah Joe on the Health and Safety Protocols list yesterday afternoon (get well soon, fellas), the remaining Philadelphia 76ers played valiantly, but their comeback effort fell short in last night’s 103-96 loss to the New York Knicks. Now, the Sixers not only have to play on the second night of a back-to-back, but they face the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks who had a day’s rest. I mean, there are schedule losses and then there is what I assume will be Charles Bassey trying to guard Giannis Antetokounmpo tonight.
Following the Knicks game, head coach Doc Rivers said the team has to play 10 guys in tonight’s game. The Sixers have been running only an eight-man rotation for about a week. I would assume last night’s mighty eight will be joined by Bassey (with Paul Reed sliding to the four) and one of Aaron Henry or Jaden Springer (but maybe Franklin will get a shot to take the court).
Milwaukee has struggled a bit to start the season, sitting at 4-6 and having lost their last two (and four of their last five) contests. The Bucks have their own All-Star dealing with COVID-19; Khris Middleton was announced to have tested positive and has been out since November 3. Meanwhile, Brook Lopez is out with a back injury and Donte DiVincenzo remains sidelined from his ankle surgery last spring. Giannis has been putting up his usual MVP-like numbers, and then after Middleton, newcomer Grayson Allen comes in at third on the team in scoring, averaging 14.5 points per game while shooting 40.0 percent from behind the arc.
These undermanned Sixers have been fun to watch. Seth Curry and Furkan Korkmaz wield flamethrowers like they’re in a Fahrenheit 451 reboot. Tyrese Maxey gets to play nearly 40 minutes and drop floaters from more angles than Minnesota Fats used on the felt. Andre Drummond has put up statistical lines this season that have placed him in the same sentences as Moses Malone and Charles Barkley.
The last time Giannis was in the Wells Fargo Center, he sat down at half court after a big overtime bucket. Fans were only allowed in a very limited capacity then, so I’d imagine they’ll make up for those lost boos tonight.
Giannis sitting down on the court feels very... Embiid pic.twitter.com/7wyCut7IS7— Internet #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) March 18, 2021
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Milwaukee Bucks
When: 7:30 pm ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic