UPDATE (1:24pm PT on Monday): The 76ers announced that Joel Embiid will not play Monday against the Kings due to a left knee contusion.
The Sacramento Kings continue to trudge through their season-long eight-game road trip with a second stop this season in Philadelphia. The last time these two teams tried to face off at the Wells Fargo Center, the game was cancelled due to unsafe playing conditions. The 76ers are playing much better basketball than they were in November, but so are the Kings.
Following a big win in Charlotte on Saturday night, Sacramento is 3-3 on the trip and they easily could have had one or two more wins. DeMarcus Cousins is playing the role of distributor and his teammates are stepping up to the challenge. According to the All-Star big, isolation ball is “out of play now.”
Joel Embiid has been a breath of fresh air this season, but the Sixers ruled him out with a left knee contusion Monday afternoon. The Sixers are just 2-11 on the season without their young star. Jahlil Okafor will start in his place.
Kings by 1.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
DeMarcus Cousins vs. Jahlil Okafor -- Cousins picked up the Western Conference Player of the Week award early Monday after posting 27.8 points, 14.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists during the Kings’ 3-1 stretch. Okafor is a late fill in for Embiid, who is out with a bruised knee. Okafor has seen a major reduction in opportunity with the emergence of Embiid, but he is a quality scorer with plenty of upside.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 19-28, third place in Pacific
76ers: 17-29, fourth place in Atlantic
Kings: F Omri Casspi (right calf strain) out, F Rudy Gay (torn left Achilles) out for season.
76ers: C Joel Embiid (knee) is out, C Jahlil Okafor (knee) questionable, F Ersan Ilyasova (shoulder) probable, G Jerryd Bayless (wrist) is out for the season, F Ben Simmons (foot) out.
This is the second of two matchups between these two teams this season with the Kings holding a 1-0 edge in the series. The Kings have a 31-30 lead during the Sacramento-era, but Philadelphia holds a 162-125 advantage all-time.
“I think we’re understanding better, we’re understanding that we can only win by playing together. Moving the ball, having a team oriented defense. The Iso ball and all of that is out of play now. The only way we win games is to play together.” -Cousins following the Kings’ win over the Hornets