Game Preview: Sixers Face Nuggets With No Embiid
It’s the final game of the Sixers’ road trip as they look to snap a two-game losing streak in a big matchup against Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.
On Saturday night in Phoenix, the Sixers fell to the Suns 125-105. Tyrese Maxey led all scorers with 37 points on 14 of 19 shooting from the floor. Including 7 for 11 from three-point range. Joel Embiid added 28, a team-best 10 rebounds while registering two blocks as he played through a sore calf.
Tonight, Embiid will miss the highly anticipated matchup against Denver’s Nikola Jokic as both are looked at as MVP finalists yet again. The big fella sitting out is more of a precautionary reason according to the team. While Embiid sits out, they’ll get some help in the starting lineup with point guard James Harden returning after missing the last three games due to Achilles soreness. The team will absolutely need even more from Harden and the entire group with Embiid now out. Devin Booker led the Suns with 29 points in the win.
The Sixers have eight games remaining on the regular season schedule with a 49-24 record. Four games at home and four on the road. Philadelphia has a 22-14 record away from home. They are back at The Center on Wednesday and Friday for a short homestand. The 76ers are still in third place in the East standings. They trail the Boston Celtics for the second seed by 2.5 games while leading the fourth-place Cleveland Cavaliers by 2. Denver is one game better than Philadelphia in the win column. They are even in losses with a 50-24 record.
Philadelphia defeated Denver in late January at home, 126-119, behind a tremendous team effort and a spectacular performance by Embiid in the head-to-head matchup with Jokic. Embiid posted a game-high in points and rebounds on that Saturday afternoon with 47 points and 18 rebounds. Harden chipped in with 17 points and a game-high 13 assists in a huge win over the Nuggets.
Currently, on a three-game winning streak, the Nuggets won a Saturday night showdown in a battle of the top teams in each conference – downing the Milwaukee Bucks, 129-106. Jokic filled the stat sheet with a game-tying high of 31 points, six rebounds and 11 assists. Jamal Murray added 26 and nine assists, 19 and seven boards for Michael Porter Jr. The Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo tied Jokic for scoring honors with 31.
It’s not going to be easy to defeat the Nuggets with Embiid out, but we’ve seen this team find a way all season long. Protect the basketball, hit the glass and they’ll give themselves a good chance tonight.