The 34-15 Philadelphia 76ers will try to extend their winning streak to three games Sunday night and split their two-game season series with the 23-23 Memphis Grizzlies.
Here’s what to watch Sunday ngiht:
Embiid goes back out
Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said Saturday the team would be “more cautious than aggressive” as Joel Embiid works his way back from a left knee bone bruise. At the time, Rivers was uncertain whether Embiid would be available against Memphis.
We learned through the NBA’s official 1:30 P.M. injury report that Embiid is out, meaning the Sixers will play without their All-Star center for the 11th time in 12 games. The team starts a four-game road trip Tuesday in Boston.
Embiid didn’t think he played well in the Sixers’ win Saturday over the Timberwolves despite having 24 points and eight rebounds in 28 minutes, saying he was rusty and that his knee brace irritated him. His health is clearly a high priority for the team.
Harris stays hot
There’s plenty of ways that’s been impressive about Tobias Harris this season, including his clutch scoring, passing, open approach, and improved defense.
Following a 32-point game vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves on 13-for-17 shooting, Harris is averaging 22.0 points on 54.8/43.8/93.6 shooting splits, 6.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.2 steals since the All Star break.
Rivers, who called Saturday’s win “one of those sloppy, ugly games,” thought Harris should’ve had more opportunities against Sacramento.
“It was great,” he said. “He should’ve scored more. We should’ve (gone) to him more. We had him going and we self-isolated him, it felt like. But it’s good. There’s room for everybody — there really is. Tobias knows that, Joel knows that, Ben (Simmons), Seth (Curry) … I thought early on, (Harris) was the only one who had it going. We were missing some point-blank looks, but that happens. When that happens, you’ve just got to keep playing. I thought our guys did that pretty well.”
Turnovers in Sixers-Grizzlies game in Jan. lost the game for the Sixers
The Sixers’ Jan. 16 loss to Memphis is one of the few times this season where Harris made a late-game mistake. He stepped on the baseline with 5.9 seconds to go with the Sixers down a point, looking to cap a fourth-quarter comeback without Embiid, who was sidelined by right knee pain.
That single play isn’t what lost the Sixers the game, though. The team turned the ball over 23 times, a stat worth tracking again Sunday. Memphis is second in opponents’ turnover percentage (15.5), per Cleaning the Glass, while the Sixers are 25th in turnover percentage.
Both teams beat the Timberwolves in their last game. Jonas Valanciunas had a 19-point double-double Friday in a 120-108 Grizzlies win.