What to watch: 76ers-Wolves preview
Following a statement win over the Los Angeles Lakers, the Sixers are back on the road tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves are in last place in the Western Conference with a 4-13 record and could be short-handed tonight. Center Karl-Anthony Towns is under health and safety protocols after testing positive for COVID-19. Also, guard D’Angelo Russell is questionable after missing the Timberwolves’ last game against the Warriors with a quad injury.
Here are some things to watch tonight:
Can the Sixers pick it up without Joel Embiid?
During Wednesday’s game against the Lakers, Embiid took a nasty fall at Marc Gasol and LeBron James’s hands. Although he played through it, Joel has had back issues all season, and it looked to bother him through the game. If Embiid sits tonight, it raises a question we have seen several times this season. Usually, this isn’t much of an issue since the Sixers play so well when Embiid plays. Still, with Ben Simmons’s progression in the last few games, one would hope for a better result.
One of the main issues for the disappointing play without Embiid is that Philly is forced to run a statistically horrible lineup. The lineups featuring Dwight Howard and Ben Simmons are an absolute mess offensively. They do not mesh with each other one bit with neither being able to properly space the floor. Until the Sixers can bring in a new big for these situations, it’s what they are stuck with.
If the Wolves are without Russell and Towns, Anthony Edwards will be leading the show. The number one pick from Georgia has had an exciting season with Minnesota, showing some real promise. While Edward’s numbers aren’t that impressive, he’s getting free reign and allowing himself to grow without any restrictions.
Through 17 games this season, the rookie has averaged 13 points per game in only 25 minutes of play. During Wednesday’s game against the Warriors, Edwards had 25 points in 32 minutes and shot 5 of 8 from deep. Alongside his fantastic offensive performance, Anthony had three steals as well.
Sixers bench getting more minutes:
If tonight is anything like Detroit on Monday, you shouldn’t get your hopes up. Facing the Pacers on Wednesday, you could see Doc play his starters in limited minutes once again. This would allow Rivers to give Tyrese Maxey and company more playing time. Tony Bradley benefited greatly from some expanded time on the floor, and more games like this can help him prepare for a larger role with the team if needed.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports