We are in the midst of a positive stretch of Philadelphia 76ers basketball. Soak it in. Faced with a difficult five-game West Coast road trip, the Sixers won the first two contests, albeit both in last-second, heart-stopping fashion. The team currently has a clean bill of health (heads to an ancient forest of Redwoods to knock on the most sacred of wood). Philadelphia has climbed back to within one half-game of second place in the Eastern Conference, presently occupied by Brooklyn and Milwaukee. The question is: do these days serve as a beacon of brighter skies to come or are we in the eye of the storm that is the typical tumultuous Sixers basketball fan experience?
Tonight, the Sixers face a tough road test in the form of the Los Angeles Clippers. LA sits at 23-22, sixth place in the Western Conference. However, although the Clippers defeated Houston on Sunday night, they have lost seven of their last nine games overall. Paul George has missed the last five games with hamstring discomfort. He is listed as questionable for tonight’s tangle with the Sixers. John Wall and Luke Kennard are out.
Sixers vs Clippers injury report has no injuries on the Philly side.— Sam DiGiovanni (@BySamDiGiovanni) January 17, 2023
For LA, Paul George is listed as questionable and John Wall and Luke Kennard are out pic.twitter.com/fx5ZsH6GMn
In the earlier meeting between these clubs last month, the Sixers shook off a 20-point deficit to come back for the 119-114 victory. As has been the case so often this season, Joel Embiid and James Harden led the way, with Embiid scoring 44 points and Harden logging a triple-double with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and a career-high 21 assists. Philadelphia’s star duo is helping each other as much as any tandem in the league.
Wild stat. James Harden (passer) and Joel Embiid (scorer) are the highest assist combination in the NBA this season, with 114. They have played in just 22 games together.https://t.co/uivEFMhFml— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) January 16, 2023
Tyrese Maxey was not available in that previous meeting, and he’s fully back up to speed after missing some time with a fractured foot. We won’t know which of Doc Rivers’ three different starting lineup combinations he’ll unleash tonight. Maxey came off the bench and logged 33 minutes Sunday night against the Lakers. With Kawhi Leonard (and maybe Paul George returning), tonight wouldn’t seem to a night to go small, so P.J. Tucker would seem like a lock to stick with the starters. We may seem Mad Max come off the pine again.
Will Joel Embiid obliterate Ivica Zubac and the rest of the Clippers’ frontcourt for the second time this season? Can James Harden’s dominance in recent years while playing in his hometown continue? Or will Kawhi Leonard hit one 18-footer after another, leading the Sixers to their doom without making so much as a single facial expression to convey a hint of emotion? Find out tonight and follow along with us as the Sixers go for their third straight win on the left coast.