Sixers kick-off second half of the season tonight against the Chicago Bulls
On the anniversary of Mike Scott posterizing Khyri Thomas, Joel Embiid flexing overtop of Thomas, and the NBA suspending the 2020 season due to COVID-19, the Philadelphia 76ers are back in action tonight against the Chicago Bulls. It will be the first game after the All-Star break for the first place Sixers. The team currently sits atop of the standings with a half game lead on the Brooklyn Nets.
The Sixers will be without both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons tonight. The duo sat out of All-Star weekend festivities after coming in contact with their barber, who tested positive for COVID-19. Although Embiid and Simmons continue to test negative, NBA health and safety protocols will not allow either player to return to action. Embiid is expected to return tomorrow against the Washington Wizards, with Simmons coming back for the San Antonio Spurs game on Sunday.
Without Simmons and Embiid, Tobias Harris will have to carry the load for the Sixers. Harris, who is having a career season, is averaging 20.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game this season. Sixers guards Seth Curry and Shake Milton will also see an increased role offensively tonight. Curry is shooting 44.8% from beyond the arc this season. Milton, who has been the Sixers most consistent bench player, will likely enter the starting lineup with Simmons’ absence.
Projected Starting Lineup:
- G – Shake Milton
- G – Seth Curry
- F – Danny Green
- F – Tobias Harris
- C – Dwight Howard
The Sixers will have to slow down Zach LaVine. LaVine enters tonight averaging 28.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game while shooting 43.5% from three point range. The Bulls will be looking to capitalize on a lineup without Simmons and Embiid and steal one from the Sixers at home.
|SIXERS||+3.5 (-110)||+134||o227.5 (-112)|
|BULLS||-3.5 (-110)||-158||u227.5 (-108)|
Any game without Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons is going to be an uphill battle for the Sixers. The first game back from the All-Star break without your two star players is a recipe for disaster. Sixers will likely lose this game, which is super frustrating as they open up the second half of the season trying to keep pace with the Brooklyn Nets.
Picks: Bulls -3.5 and u227.5
Mandatory Credit: The Philadelphia Inquirer