76ers

Sixers-Kings: What you need to know

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Sixers-Kings: What you need to know

Sixers vs. Kings – 7:30 p.m., The Comcast Network
Wells Fargo Center

Records
Sixers: 19-26 (Fourth in Atlantic Division, ninth in Eastern Conference)
Kings: 17-30 (Fourth in Pacific Division, 13th in Western Conference)

Line
Sixers minus-6

Previous games
The Sixers are looking to put together a pair of wins for the first time since Nov. 30. Last time out they held off the Washington Wizards, 92-84, thanks to strong showings up and down the roster.

Though the Sixers haven’t won back-to-back games in nine attempts, they have won two out of the last three and three out of the last six.

The Kings play the fourth game of a six-game road trip on Friday night, following a 99-81 loss in Boston on Wednesday night. Though they are 1-2 on the trip, the Kings have lost four out of their last five.

Last meeting
Likely headed into their final game as the Sacramento Kings in Philadelphia, this will be the first meeting between the clubs this season. Last Jan. 10, the Sixers won their only meeting against the Kings, 112-85. Elton Brand led the Sixers with 21 points on 10-for-14 shooting to go with 10 boards. The Sixers also got 53 points off the bench with Evan Turner, Lou Williams and Thad Young combining for 41.

DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Who's hot
Thad Young has scored in double figures in his last nine games and has reached at least 10 points in 42 of 45 games this season. Young also has played at least 30 minutes in the last 10 games.

Nick Young has hit at least one three-pointer in his last seven games and is shooting 40 percent (14 for 35) from three-point range over that span.

Jrue Holiday has averaged 24.7 points over his last three games. He also is shooting 53 percent (35 for 66) from the field over that span.

For the Kings, Cousins has six double-doubles in his last 10 games, averaging 17.2 points and 10 rebounds over that stretch. Chester, Pa. native Tyreke Evans led the Kings with 19 points and 11 boards in Wednesday night’s loss in Boston.

Probable starters
Sixers (last 10 games)
Jrue Holiday (22.5 ppg, 8.8 apg)
Nick Young (13.2 ppg, 15 three-pointers)
Spencer Hawes (10.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg)
Evan Turner (14.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg)
Thad Young (15.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg)

Kings (last 10 games)
John Salmons (9.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg)
Jason Thompson (6.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg)
DeMarcus Cousins (17.2 ppg, 10.0 rpg)
Isaiah Thomas (10.5 ppg, 4.4 apg)
Tyreke Evans (15.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg)

Injuries
Jason Richardson (left knee synovitis) is out.

Andrew Bynum (bilateral knee bone bruises) is out.

Damien Wilkins missed Wednesday’s game and Thursday’s practice while attending to personal matters.

Ex-Sixer Salmons missed Wednesday’s game in Boston with a stomach virus.

Sixers refuse to look at silver lining from season-opening loss

Sixers refuse to look at silver lining from season-opening loss

BOX SCORE

WASHINGTON — In years past, overcoming a 12-point deficit and trailing a playoff-contending team by just two points with a minute to go would be considered an “A for effort” for the Sixers

If they held their own against a more experienced team and didn’t get dominated by John Wall, a 120-115 loss on the road wasn’t really that bad … was it?

Not this season.

The Sixers are in a new phase, one with actual pieces versus promising potential. With that comes higher expectations to win, and it starts in the locker room after the first game. 

“I don’t like taking positives from losses,” JJ Redick said. “We need to clean up a lot of stuff. We need to be better. It takes a lot to win in this league. We need to figure that out, and we will. We are good enough to do that.” 

The Sixers were in Wednesday's game until the end (see observations). They withstood the combined 53 points from Wall and Bradley Beal with a 29-point performance by Robert Covington and double-doubles from Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons (see studs, duds, more).

The team acknowledged it had a chance to win. Yes, there were encouraging moments. No, they weren’t hanging their heads and writing off the season after opening night. 

At the same time, they are not ignoring the missteps that landed them in the loss column. Those are the turning points to learn from this season. 

The Sixers gave up just three points off four turnovers in the first half. The second half was a different story: 20 points off 13 turnovers. Down two points late in the fourth, the Sixers committed a pair of turnovers in a span of 30 seconds that hindered them from closing the gap. Those errors have been a focal point of conversation among the players. 

“Too many turnovers. That's big,” Embiid said (more on him here). “That's been the talk in the locker room. Got to work on that.”

The Sixers have one day of practice before facing the Celtics and Raptors in back-to-back games. It's just a small taste of what's to come in a stacked schedule over the first two months of the season. The attitude is be good enough to win, not good enough to compete. 

“We’re not going to try to lose this season and take a bunch of positives from that,” Redick said. “We’re trying to win. We’re trying to be in the playoffs this year. That’s got to be the mindset.”

Joel Embiid 'surprised' by amount of playing time in Sixers' opener

Joel Embiid 'surprised' by amount of playing time in Sixers' opener

WASHINGTON — In the end, Joel Embiid’s playing time was a non-issue.

After days of frustration leading up to opening night, Embiid played just three seconds shy of 27 minutes against the Wizards. That far surpassed the 16 minutes he anticipated a day earlier on Tuesday (see story)

“I was surprised,” Embiid said following the Sixers’ 120-115 loss on Wednesday night (see observations). “I was expecting way less than that, but it just shows you they trust me.”

Brett Brown had maintained Embiid’s minutes were going to be more flexible than last year and he wasn’t locked into a specific number by the medical staff. Initially, Brown projected Embiid would play somewhere in the teens, but the game presented an opportunity for him to log more. 

Embiid had played 21:38 through three quarters and it seemed, based on last season, he was done for the night. The coaching staff calculated Embiid had over 20 minutes to rest between the third and the fourth quarters, so Brown put him back into the game with just over five minutes to play. He finished the game with 18 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, a block and four turnovers (see highlights).

“It’s a range,” Brown said. “It’s more of a plan that we have this year than a restriction. When you look at and you feel the flow of the game, that’s where the variables come in.”

Embiid wants open lines of communication between him and the medical staff — for him to know what its planning and for him to be honest about how he is feeling.

“It’s on me to not lie to them and tell them how my body feels when I’m tired,” Embiid said. “At some point through the game I was tired and I told them to take me out.”

Embiid is ready for a new outlook on his availability moving forward. 

“We’ve got to stop calling it 'minutes restrictions,'" Embiid said. "There’s a plan with that — it’s just go out and play. If you’re tired, get out because injuries happen more often when you’re tired.”