Buddy Hield saved the day for Sacramento on Tuesday, scoring 15 of his 21 points before the half as the Kings shook off a horrible first quarter performance. Zach Randolph rallied in the third and fourth quarter to help the Kings hang on for the win. Rookie Justin Jackson set a new career-high with 16 points.
Philly is riding a five-game win streak, including a big win over the Utah Jazz in the first of their five-game road trip that began on Tuesday. Joel Embiid is putting up 20.5 points and 10.1 rebounds so far this season, but it’s rookie Ben Simmons that is turning heads with his near triple-double stats.
76ers by 6.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Joel Embiid -- Cauley-Stein has had an up and down season so far, but he’s still getting the call with the first unit. Embiid looks like an All-Star in the making, but he’s played just 39 games since being drafted with the third overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft. Cauley-Stein came into the league as a defender that can guard multiple positions. He’ll face a big that can score from anywhere on the court and stuffs the stat sheet every night.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 2-8, fifth place in Pacific
76ers: 6-4, second place in Atlantic
Kings: PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out.
76ers: PG Markelle Fultz (shoulder) out, G Jerryd Bayless (wrist) out.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
RINSE AND REPEAT -- Hield was everything the Kings needed and more against the Thunder, but he’s struggled with consistency. If he’s hitting his shots, the second-year guard is all over the court. If he comes out cold, he has to find ways to help out. Hield’s averaged 17 points and 7.3 rebounds per game over his previous three games.
BETTER STARTS -- Sacramento set a new NBA record when the second team posted 29 points against the Thunder before the team’s starters could score a single point. The Kings continue to fall behind early and they’ve been less than successful on most night digging out of those holes. If the starters can’t get it going early, Joerger is going to have some difficult decisions to make.
MOMENTUM -- OKC isn’t a world beater yet, but they boast three All-Stars, including the league’s reigning MVP in Russell Westbrook. Sacramento fought through a rough start to come away with a big win on Tuesday. They have winnable games against young, inexperienced teams over the next week. There is an opportunity to steal a few victories and get the season back on track.
These two teams split the season series 1-1 last year with each holding home court. The Sixers have a 30-32 lead during the Sacramento-era and Philadelphia holds a 163-125 advantage all-time.