Philadelphia Sixers

Round 2 of Joel Embiid-Andre Drummond should be a doozy

Round 2 of Joel Embiid-Andre Drummond should be a doozy

With the Sixers currently holding a 12-9 record and the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference as the calendar flips to December, you can expect plenty of holiday cheer when the team takes the Wells Fargo Center floor on Saturday against the Detroit Pistons (7:30 p.m./NBC Sports Philadelphia).

Just don’t expect the joy to be shared by the two starting centers.

Joel Embiid and Andre Drummond have faced off only once in their careers — a 97-86 Sixers’ road win on Oct. 23. Despite Embiid scoring 30 points and Drummond notching a 14-point, 14-rebound double-double, those performances will be merely footnotes in the game’s story. That night will be remembered in NBA history for Ben Simmons’ first career triple-double.

However, that didn’t stop the big men from working their way into the conversation.

Following the victory, the never-shy Embiid shared his thoughts of Drummond’s defensive ability — or lack thereof — on the court.

“Defensively, he doesn’t play any defense,” Embiid told the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey after the win. “When we started the game, he was being aggressive and he was talking, too. … So what I was like [in my mind], ‘You want to do that? I’m going to kick your [butt] then.’ So that’s what I did.”

One thing you can’t call Joel Embiid is a liar. The big man attacked right from the opening tip and put up his 30 points in 28 minutes on an efficient 11 for 15 shooting (73.3 percent). He also finished the night with nine boards and a game-best plus-21 rating, compared to Drummond’s minus-11.

“In my mind, I was like, ‘You want to switch up, because you are playing against me,’” Embiid said of Drummond. ”‘You want to be all physical and talk [trash].’ So I was like, ‘You are going to get your [butt beat].’ I love that.”

To his credit, Drummond owned up to his defensive showing after the clash. But the sixth-year center wanted Embiid to know he shouldn’t feel special about the on-court jawing session.

“I talk (expletive) to everybody,” Drummond said, via the Detroit Free Press. “That’s just what I do. I don’t say anything extra to anybody. I talk the same way to everybody — whether you my friend or anybody else.

“I don’t say anything extra because it’s Joel Embiid. I don’t need to do that. I just speak the way I speak. He felt some type of way, that’s on him.”

As news of Embiid’s claims about Drummond began to make waves on social media, the Pistons’ anchor opted to keep his response on Twitter short and sweet.

“See you Dec. 2nd,” Drummond tweeted with a winking emoji.

After all, it is the most wonderful time of the year.

Is Bryan Colangelo primed to lure LeBron James?

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USA Today Images

Is Bryan Colangelo primed to lure LeBron James?

King James in Philly?

And for more than just two games a season?

What seems like a dream might have some feasibility to it.

Bryan Colangelo will apparently give it a shot in going after LeBron James, who can hit free agency after this season if he declines his player option with the Cavs.

Per USA TODAY's Jeff Zillgitt, executives around the league believe the Sixers' president of basketball operations will attempt to ink the four-time MVP.

Now, of course, what franchise wouldn't try for James? Any of the 30 teams in the league with an inkling of a chance will do their due diligence if James hits the market.

However, we do know this:

• Colangelo is not one to shy away from making bold moves/acquisitions (i.e., trading up for the 2017 No. 1 draft pick, bringing in JJ Redick and other veteran free agents).

• The Cavs are aging and James turns 33 years old in December, so he may be eyeing the final destination of his career — an up-and-coming team with multiple years of contention in store.

Zillgitt reported in July that James grew frustrated with the Cavs' offseason decisions and efforts, which included a shakeup in the front office.

• As we all know, James and Sixers star rookie Ben Simmons are tight. They are both represented by the same agency (Klutch Sports Group) and James has enjoyed mentoring the 21-year-old. Simmons also shared a fun tweet at James during July, a day after Zillgitt's report surfaced.

• There has always been a mutual appreciation between James and the city of Philadelphia. In November 2015, James hit the career 25,000-point mark at the Wells Fargo Center, eliciting a standing ovation from Sixers fans. "Obviously, they’re Sixers fans to death, but they know and respect the game of basketball," James said then. "To get a standing ovation for reaching that milestone, it was very special."

• And, finally and maybe most importantly, the Sixers have the cap space to go after James, as Zillgitt notes in his article.

This season still needs to play out and the Sixers already have the city abuzz as the process' promise comes into focus.

Imagine LeBron James joining the movement? Sounds like Colangelo is at least picturing it.

With different issue, Ben Simmons questionable again

With different issue, Ben Simmons questionable again

Ben Simmons has been listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Wizards after suffering a right ankle sprain on Monday playing the Cavs.

The questionable status means a 50 percent chance a player will be available. 

Simmons on Monday left for the locker room with five minutes to play. X-rays taken after the game were negative. He will be reevaluated prior to the game on Wednesday.

The question for the Sixers is not only will Simmons play, but will Joel Embiid, as well? The big man has yet to be cleared for back-to-backs and the Sixers face the Celtics the following night in Boston.

The Sixers lost their first game to the Wizards, 120-115, on opening night. That was with 28 points, eight assists and five rebounds from John Wall, though, who is sidelined because of a left knee injury. 

Whether these injuries and the back-to-back impact who plays on Wednesday remains to be seen.

In the meantime, the Sixers who are cleared to go will be looking for a bounce-back win after a 23-point loss to the Cavaliers (see story)

“I hate losing,” Embiid said after the game. “But I think that’s actually good that we got our ass kicked so we can go back, learn, and know that we can’t take any days off, we can’t feel comfortable. We’ve just got to keep working hard and keep getting better.”