The 76ers begin a Four Game Road Trip Tonight in Sacramento
The Philadelphia 76ers are in Sacramento tonight to face the red hot Kings on their first leg of a four game road trip. The Sixers enter the game sitting atop of the Eastern Conference Standings with a 17-7 record and a game up on the 16-7 Bucks.
The Sacramento Kings enter tonight at 12-11 and are currently in seventh place in the Western Conference. They are winners of their last four and have won seven of their last eight games. Although on paper this looks like an easy win for the Sixers, the Kings have been playing their best basketball of the season, coming off two wins over the weekend against Nikola Jokic’s Nuggets and Kawhi Leonard’s Clippers.
De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield
Western Conference Player of the Week De’Aaron Fox has scored at least 22 points in nine of the last ten games for the Kings. Last game against the Clippers, Fox exploded for a game-high 36 points and added seven assists and four rebounds. Teammate Buddy Hield scored 22 points and pulled in nine rebounds. If the Kings want to pull off an upset tonight, they will certainly need Fox and Hield to continue their hot streaks. Fox is averaging 23 points per game on 48% shooting from the floor. He’s scored 124 points in their last four wins. The Sixers will need a strong defensive effort and look to limit any type of streaky scoring by Fox and Hield along the perimeter to keep the Kings off-balance throughout the night.
Fox loves to attack the rim and has been successful in doing so over the Kings recent hot streak. When Fox attacks the rim tonight, Joel Embiid will be waiting for him. Yes, Fox can finish when Ivica Zubac and Tristan Thompson are the opposing team’s rim protectors but as we all know, Embiid is a different animal in the paint. If the Kings are unable to find open lanes to attack they will have to rely on perimeter shooting to beat the 76ers, which is always tough to do with Ben Simmons, Danny Green, and Matisse Thybulle defending beyond the arc.
Last game against the Nets, we finally saw a glimpse of early-season Seth Curry. Glimpse is a keyword. Curry shot 4-11 from the field but was 2-3 from three point range and finished the night with seven points. Seth Curry started off the season on fire for the Sixers, averaging 17 points and 3.6 assists per game while shooting an incredible 60.3% from the field and 59.5% from three point range. Since returning from COVID-19 recovery, Curry has fallen off and is only averaging just north of seven points per game in his last nine games.
Curry provides all of the spacing needed for Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid to operate on the offensive side of the court. Without him, the majority of perimeter shooting falls on the shoulders of Tobias Harris and an inconsistent Danny Green.
Speaking of Joel Embiid….
Is there anyone in the NBA that can stop him? Embiid is currently having one of the most efficient offensive seasons in NBA season and tonight, Kings’ big men Richaun Holmes and Hassan Whiteside will have their hands full. Embiid is a nightmare to defend. Either he’s going to score or he’s going to get fouled and make you pay from the foul line.
Limit Turnovers, Control the Pace
Ben Simmons loves to terrorize teams in the open court. De’Aaron Fox does the same for Sacramento. The Kings will be looking to attack in transition as much as possible and force the 76ers to turn the ball over. On the other side, the Sixers will look to do the same. The key to a win tonight will be for the Sixers to limit turnovers and control the pace of the game and force the Kings to beat you in a half-court offense.
- The Sixers are currently five and half point favorites against the Kings.
- The Sixers are 3-11 ATS in their last 14 games following a win of more than 10 points.
- The Sixers are 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 games on Tuesdays.
- Kings are 8-0 ATS in their last eight games.
- They are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games after allowing 100 points or more the previous game.
- Kings are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS win.
Everything about this game screams trap game but this is not the same Sixers team that we have grown accustomed to over the last few years. They are 8-2 in their last 10 games which included a perfect 3-0 on their last road trip. The Sixers got some extra rest since Saturday’s game against the Nets which should erase any unexpected injury news heading into tonight’s game. They are also undefeated with their starting lineup.
Tonight’s game will be a lot closer than you might think playing against the Kings. Sacramento is coming off recent wins against some of the NBA’s best teams in the Celtics, Nuggets, and Clippers. There is no one on the Kings, let alone in the NBA that can stop Joel Embiid. In recent memory, a game like this screams TRAP GAME but this year, the Sixers are built different.
Sixers -5.5 and Sixers o231.
Mandatory Credit: Matt Slocum | AP