76ers

2019-20 Sixers schedule: 8 of the Sixers' best matchups

2019-20 Sixers schedule: 8 of the Sixers' best matchups

The Sixers (just like 29 other NBA teams) play 82 regular-season games in 2019-20 and, if we're being honest with ourselves, some of them will be more worth watching than others.

The team's full schedule is below. All times listed are local start times. 

Here are eight games that figure to be among the best:

Oct. 23: Sixers vs. Celtics, 7:30 p.m.

When these two teams played on opening night last year, Dario Saric, Robert Covington and Markelle Fultz combined for 19 points and 8 for 25 shooting in a 105-87 loss. The Sixers have replaced those three players with Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris and Al Horford. Though the Sixers’ new starting five likely won’t gell immediately, another blowout loss would be a stunner. 

Nov. 25: Sixers at Raptors, 7:30 p.m.

Nobody associated with the Sixers needs a reminder of the bitter conclusion to last season. Kawhi Leonard, the man who made that painful, high-bouncing shot, has departed, but Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam haven’t gone anywhere. Unlike in May, the Sixers should have a healthy Joel Embiid, and a backup center who’s in a different class than the combination of Greg Monroe and Boban Marjanovic they tried to scrape by with in that second-round series. 

Dec. 25: Sixers vs. Bucks, 2:30 p.m. 

The Sixers’ first home Christmas game since 1988 should be a good one. It’s a matchup between what appear to be the two best teams in the Eastern Conference, two teams who lost to the Raptors in last year’s playoffs and don’t have to worry this season about Leonard’s playoff heroics — unless they meet the Clippers in the Finals. 

How will the Sixers handle defending Giannis Antetokounmpo? While the MVP averaged a staggering 48.5 points in the teams' final two matchups last season with Embiid as his primary defender, the Sixers won in Milwaukee on March 17 and led with less than two minutes left in an April 4 loss at Wells Fargo Center. Despite significant roster turnover for the Bucks, Antetokounmpo is still surrounded by shooters, including new additions Wesley Matthews and Kyle Korver. 

Jan. 3: Sixers at Rockets, 7 p.m.

Embiid has some history with both James Harden and new Rocket Russell Westbrook. After Embiid and Harden each picked up double technical fouls for an incident on Jan. 22, the big man said, “I’m always having fun and a lot of guys take it seriously. Especially when it comes to that, we just had one guy our last game that was acting crazy.” That guy who was “acting crazy” happened to be Westbrook, who Embiid said is “always in his feelings” following the then-Thunder guard taking exception to a hard foul by Embiid. 

Jan. 20: Sixers at Nets, 3 p.m. 

Kevin Durant will be rehabbing from his ruptured Achilles tendon, but there are still plenty of compelling storylines for this Martin Luther King Jr. Day game. The Sixers ended the Nets’ 2018-19 season with a Game 5 win in Philadelphia that was over well before halftime. There won’t be any sparring, verbal or otherwise, between Jared Dudley (now a Laker) and Ben Simmons, but Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris and Caris LeVert are among the supporting cast still in Brooklyn. The star they’re now supporting, of course, is Kyrie Irving. 

Jan. 25: Sixers vs. Lakers, 8:30 p.m.

LeBron James; Anthony Davis; A colorful collection of role players that includes Rajon Rondo, DeMarcus Cousins and JaVale McGee. Regardless of how you feel about them, the 2019-20 Lakers are going to be must-watch television. Embiid has a career 3-1 record against Davis and dominated the six-time All Star on Nov. 21, 2018, outscoring him 31-12 as the Sixers held on for a 121-120 win. 

Feb. 11: Sixers vs. Clippers, 7 p.m.

There’s been so much change around the league that it’s hard to confidently project much about next season, but it seems safe to say the Clippers and Sixers will be two of the NBA’s best defensive teams in 2019-20. In addition to another matchup vs. Leonard, this game should feature former Sixers Landry Shamet and Lou Williams, as well as a six-time All-Star who averaged 28 points per game and led the league in steals in 2018-19 in Paul George. 

March 7: Sixers at Warriors, 5:30 p.m.

The Warriors are still the Warriors. Sure, they no longer have Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala, and Klay Thompson will be working his way back from a torn ACL. Stephen Curry, D’Angelo Russell and Draymond Green still sound like a highly entertaining trio, though. Another note of interest for Philly basketball fans is that Golden State now has two Villanova products, rookie Eric Paschall and Omari Spellman. Simmons averaged 25.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists against Golden State last year, making 20 of 28 field goal attempts. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

Sixers Talk podcast: The Sixers are bound to go on a run

sixers-talk-ben-simmons-clippers.jpg
NBCSP/USA Today Images

Sixers Talk podcast: The Sixers are bound to go on a run

Danny Pommells and Paul Hudrick discuss Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons' relationship, if the Sixers are going to go on a run, stability around the team and more on this edition of Sixers Talk.

• Are you encouraged by the way Jo and Ben acted toward each other during All-Star weekend? (2:00)

• The team's mettle will be tested with six of the next nine games on the road (5:45)

• Are the Sixers finally poised to go on a run? (7:43) 

• Eastern Conference betting odds (14:40)

• Is there enough stability and structure in the organization? (20:54)

• How troubling would it be if Jimmy Butler and the Heat go further than the Sixers? (31:47)

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

Brett Brown is more interested in Joel Embiid's head than his hand

Brett Brown is more interested in Joel Embiid's head than his hand

CAMDEN, N.J. — In Sunday night’s NBA All-Star Game, Joel Embiid did not appear bothered by his left hand. He sought out contact, didn’t seem to be in pain or discomfort, and posted 22 points and 10 rebounds. He also did not wear a splint on his left hand, as he'd done since returning from a torn ligament in his ring finger.

A team spokesperson said Wednesday that will remain the case with the Sixers, and that Embiid will now use buddy tape on his hand.

After Embiid shot 6 for 26 on Feb. 6 against the Bucks, head coach Brett Brown told reporters in Milwaukee he thought Embiid’s hand was affecting his shooting. 

Embiid had also said his hand was having an adverse impact.

“The Miami game, you’re kind of scared sometimes, you’re just trying to look for a foul or try to be physical,” he said. “Especially on the rebounds — I think that’s where it affects me the most. But, like I said, it’s not an excuse. I’ve gotta just figure it out and keep pushing.”

Still, Brown leaned toward the metaphorical after practice Wednesday when asked a broad question about Embiid’s health. 

I think the place that interests me the most, where I see his conditioning incrementally getting to an elite level, is his head. I think he is in a space that is excellent as it relates to his excitement, seeing this final third home — to grab the team by the throat and lead us in a bunch of different areas. ... I've been with him a long time, and when I look at him and I talk to him and I hear his words ... and we're always sort of, like you would with your children, judging their body language and all that. 

“I just think he's in a really good space. As it relates to the physical conditioning, we just went up and down hard for about 60 minutes — really up and down, up and down, up and down — saw no drop off. If you study the tape from the other night and you watch Joel Embiid run the floor and some of his rim runs … we all would be saying, 'Well, shoot, it can't get any better than that.' And so I think his fitness level is fine, and I think his headspace is even better. 

As for Embiid’s hand, Brown deferred judgement. After missing nine games with the injury, Embiid has played in eight contests, averaging 21 points and 10.4 rebounds. He’s shot 44.1 percent from the floor, 38.2 percent on three-point shots and 69.9 percent at the foul line.

“I believe I'll be able to tell more when when he gets double teamed at what I call the up block … and he's forced to pass more with his left hand, which used to be all bandaged up,” Brown said. “I used to get worried in that environment where people would come hard looking to whack it or double team him from that floor spot. I look forward to seeing him pass from that floor spot.

“It's easier on the other side, the down side, with his right hand, and I think that's where it will stand out probably the most for me, to see the difference of no wrap and the one that used to be wrapped.”

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers