By Connor Thomas

 

The Sixers had a much needed night off yesterday following their hard-fought overtime win over the Miami Heat on Tuesday. Philadelphia’s shrunken roster has received plenty of publicity over the past week, and as the team attempts to get healthy, any free day is welcome. Tonight, however, Joel Embiid and company will be back in action in the second half of a 2 game home set with Miami. If you have somehow forgotten already, the first meeting between these teams saw a dominant 45 point performance from Embiid that willed a Sixers team to victory, despite missing Ben Simmons and Tyrese Maxey for part of the 4th quarter and all of overtime due to foul outs. Danny Green also had his first breakout performance as a Sixer, scoring 29 on a night that included 9 3 pointers. Duncan Robinson played well for the Heat in that game, putting up 26 of his own in the loss. Philly (sorry, “Phila” if Chris Heck is reading this) might be getting healthier, but Miami is not being afforded that same luxury. It appears that Erik Spoelstra’s squad will be missing many of their big names again for Thursday night’s contest due to continued COVID ineligibilities.

It is hard to see Joel Embiid putting up another superhuman performance like he did in the first game of this set, but it was very clear on Tuesday that the Heat had no answer for the Sixers’ big man. The Sixers, on the other hand, received a very poor performance from Ben Simmons, who scored a miniscule 5 points in 31+ minutes of play. If one is of the belief that water will flow back towards its level, it would be an easy prediction to make that Simmons will have a better game later today, and Embiid, while still dominant, should take a bit of a step back. It will be interesting to see if another ancillary player can fulfill the “Robin” role that Danny Green played on Tuesday night. If the Sixers do get that effort, they should be able to sweep this series with Miami, just like how they swept their first ever home and home with Washington earlier this year.

The offensive matchup of the game will no doubt be Ben Simmons against Miami’s defense. In Tuesday night’s game, Kelly Olynk spent the majority of time guarding Ben Simmons, but regardless of the man tasked with the Job, Erik Spoelstra has always seemed to find a way to neutralize the Sixers point man. 5 points will not cut it from any starter, especially not one of your main stars. Expect Simmons to score in double figures tonight.

The defensive matchup of the game will be Danny Green on Duncan Robinson. Green split time with Ben Simmons guarding the red hot Robinson on Tuesday night. While Simmons’ defense is highly touted, Green is an aging player who is not quite what he used to be on the defensive end. It will be important for Doc Rivers’ side to get a better performance, especially considering perimeter defense, if the Sixers want to cool off the main guy who burned them on Tuesday.

 

Game Info:

7PM Tip

TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia

Radio: Right here on 97.5 The Fanatic!