The Sixers’ second preseason of sorts is on its last leg.
Below are the essentials for Tuesday’s scrimmage against the Mavericks, the Sixers’ final exhibition before their first seeding game on Saturday vs. the Pacers:
When: 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: Walt Disney World Resort
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
And here are three storylines to watch:
The health factor
Joel Embiid (right calf tightness) and Raul Neto (lower back tightness) missed the Sixers’ scrimmage against the Thunder on Sunday, while Glenn Robinson III sustained a left hip pointer and left the game in the second quarter shortly after a collision with Oklahoma City’s Terrance Ferguson. All three injured Sixers were good to go for a light practice Monday.
More game time for Embiid before games count again would be nice – he only played 12:57 in the Sixers’ first scrimmage – but one imagines they’ll have a cautious approach given his extensive injury history and value to the team. Robinson had been showing well in the competition for bench wing minutes.
Injuries were inevitable after all this time away and the Sixers will want to minimize the impact they have on meaningful games.
We’ll update this post when we have information on players’ statuses for the scrimmage.
Practice vs. a zone?
One of the Sixers’ two losses at Wells Fargo Center this season was to Dallas on Dec. 20. Besides Embiid, who had 33 points and 17 rebounds, the Sixers had a poor night against the Mavs’ zone.
If Dallas turns to a zone Tuesday, it will be interesting to see if the Sixers have any new ideas about how they want to use Ben Simmons. He’s often been either an observer in the short corner or a screener at the top of the zone. Brett Brown has said he thinks Simmons can actually have the greatest impact against zone defense as an offensive rebounder.
Milton’s final tune-up
While health is more important than anything that happens on the court in this scrimmage, it will be worth continuing to track Shake Milton’s performance. The Sixers’ starting point guard went 4 of 9 from three-point range in the team’s first two scrimmages, dropping his mark from long range since Feb. 22 to a mere 58.9 percent.
He has a chance here to gain a little more confidence and fine-tune his partnership with Simmons, who has essentially been the team’s transition point guard. Milton said Monday he’s been working on defensive details recently with player development coach Cameron Hodges.
“I look forward to studying defense with Shake during this timeframe,” Brown said after the scrimmage Friday vs. the Grizzlies. “We’ve given him a hell of a responsibility as a pretty good team’s starting point guard.”
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