By Dylan MacKinnon
*Update* Joel Embiid is now listed as questionable, due to back soreness. If Embiid can’t go, it would likely be Deandre Jordan and Paull Millsap getting the bulk of those minutes. Doc Rivers has not utilized either Paul Reed or Charles Bassey since Harden joined the team. Bassey is currently with the Blue Coats and is unavailable to play tonight. It is possible Reed gets a chance to play if Embiid rests though.
Joel Embiid (back soreness) is now listed as questionable on the injury report for tonight's game.— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) March 16, 2022
Aside from the benefit of getting him a night off, would not be the worst thing in the world to basically force a look at multiple backup bigs next to Harden
There has been talk of finding the Sixers starters rest down the stretch. But according to Keith Pompey, Doc Rivers does not expect that rest to come when the Sixers play the Cavs tonight.
Doc has committed to finding the rest of his guys, but finding nights to do so may be difficult. With Embiid in the lineup, the Sixers are 37-18. That is a .673 winning percentage, which would be first in the Eastern conference, and fourth in the NBA. When Embiid sits they are 4-8. There are only 15 games left in the season, and the Sixers are in a tight race in the Eastern Conference.
Overall the Sixers are 7-3 since Harden joined the team. But recently they have been in a slump. They have lost 3 of their last 5 games. Two of those losses were by double digits. They lost to the Heat, were blown out by the Nets, and then lost a close on to the Nuggets. In between those 3, they had a convincing win over the Bulls, and squeaked out a close win in Orlando. after the game Embiid gave his thoughts on what the Sixers problem is, in particular the issues with transition defense.
“Maybe we should not crash the boards and we should just all get back on defense. But that’s not really the reason why I think. Me, all of us, we’ve just been lazy and teams are taking advantage of that. That has to be, at least the next 10 games, that has to be the focus of we just got to start being better on that. [Kevin Durant] mentioned it last game. You saw it tonight. Orlando took a lot of advantage. It’s good for us, we know what the problem is so we just got to fix it.”
This will be third time they face the Cavs this season. The Sixers are 2-0 so far this season. In the first game Embiid had a 40pt triple double in 33 minutes. The Sixers won that game 103-93. In the last game Embiid scored only 22, but Harden added 25, and Maxey shined with 33 pts. The Sixers ended up winning a close one that night by a final score of 125-119. The Sixers are currently 41-26. They sit in the 3 seed, one game ahead of the two seed Bucks, and a half game ahead of the four seed Bulls.
Our coverage of the game starts at 6pm with a special Pre-Game Edition of Beers with Bob, hosted b y Bob Cooney and Andrew Salciunas at Bailey’s Bar and Grille. At 6:50, it is the Pre-Game show with Devon Givens. Then Tom McGinnis is on the call at 7pm. Make sure to stay tuned after the game to react to the game with Devon Givens as he goes ‘In the Post.’ Join us as the Sixers face the Cavs tonight right here on 97.5 The Fanatic.