The Sixers have started getting some results with a three-game winning streak under their belt, but they’ll be a bit more tested in their second outing against the Wizards with two significant absences.
Joel Embiid remains out with a non-COVID illness, and De’Anthony Melton is now out as well with left lower back stiffness. In their absence, the Sixers will (unsurprisingly) be sticking with P.J. Tucker at center, joined by Matisse Thybulle starting in Melton’s place.
After a bit of a slower start in his first few games with the Sixers, Melton has started hitting fine form to give the team a bit of everything at both ends of the floor, filling the exact role he was always projected to excel in when he arrived in Philadelphia. He’s playing quality defense, racking up a host of deflections as he breaks up passing lanes, working well with James Harden as a short roll cutter/passer, and averaging 12.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.4 steals with a 42.9 percent three-point stroke over his last five games.
Hopefully Melton is over his back tightness soon — the Sixers have some tougher opponents coming up starting next week, beginning with the Suns next Monday followed by a two-game mini series against the Hawks.