Sixers look to end three game skid at home vs Rockets
The Houston Rockets are in Philadelphia tonight looking to end their six game losing streak against the Philadelphia 76ers. They enter tonight with an 11-16 record this season. The Sixers are also looking to end a three-game losing streak and enter tonight still sitting atop of the Eastern Conference standings at 18-10.
The Rockets are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Washington Wizards in a game where they shot only 21 percent from three point range (8 for 37). This is good news for the Sixers, who have struggled to defend against three point shots all season long and are coming off a game in which the Utah Jazz shot 40 percent from beyond the arc (18-45).
It’s likely that Joel Embiid will be back in the lineup tonight after missing last game with back tightness. Speaking of last game, Ben Simmons scored a career-high 42 points on 15-26 shooting. The most impressive part of Simmons’ game against the Jazz was his free throw efficiency, where he made the Jazz pay for fouling him by shooting 12-13 from the line. Simmons was one rebound away from a 40+ point triple-double, adding 12 assists and nine rebounds to his career night. Tobias Harris scored a season-high 36 points and pulled in 10 rebounds in the loss to the Jazz. Harris was 14-24 from the floor and made 3 of 5 shots from three point range.
With Embiid back in the lineup, some pressure will be lifted from Simmons and Harris but it’s important that Simmons specifically continues to progress offensively for the Sixers. Over the last 11 games, Simmons has averaged 20 points on 60 percent shooting with 8 rebounds and 8 assists in 36 minutes. Prior to that, he was averaging 13.4 points on 51 percent shooting. It’s safe to say that defensively, we know what type of effort we are going to get from Ben Simmons on a nightly basis, but offensively, the 24-year old point guard is typically far from consistent. On the Sixers’ last road trip, Simmons scored 23 points against the Blazers, 18 against the Suns, and 42 points against the Jazz. After scoring over 18 points just twice throughout the season, Simmons has done so in three straight games.
The Sixers desperately need more offense from their supporting cast around Simmons, Embiid, and Harris. Last game, Dwight Howard was a bright spot, scoring 14 points and grabbing 12 rebounds but aside from Howard the bench combined for a miserable 11 points against the Jazz. To put that in perspective, Jazz bench player Jordan Clarkson outscored the Sixers’ bench himself 40-25.
The Rockets will be without Christian Wood. Eric Gordon and Victor Oladipo are both doubtful and PJ Tucker is listed as questionable. The Sixers have Joel Embiid listed as probable. Given the Rockets injuries and massive slump they are currently in, the Sixers should have no issues winning tonight’s game.
Mandatory Credit: Fox Sports AU