76ers

2019-20 Sixers schedule: Plenty of reunions await Sixers this season

2019-20 Sixers schedule: Plenty of reunions await Sixers this season

The NBA schedule is out and it’s ripe with juicy matchups all around the league.

There will be plenty of intriguing games for the Sixers, including their matchups with rival Boston and both L.A. teams, but there are also a few games that will have some sentimentality.

Here are the Sixers’ “reunion” games for the 2019-20 season. (All times listed below are local start times.) 

Jimmy Butler — Sixers vs. Heat, Nov. 23, 7:30 p.m.

This may be the one return that’s not so ceremonious. There have been conflicting reports about whether the Sixers offered Butler a max deal. In any case, it appears Butler chose South Beach over South Philly. The crowd reaction alone will be fascinating. It’s unlikely either side will offer up much in the pre- and postgame availabilities, but you never know. It’ll also be Josh Richardson’s first chance to “kill” his former team.

T.J. McConnell — Sixers vs. Pacers, Nov. 30, 7 p.m.

This may actually get the fan base more excited than any return. McConnell was the ultimate underdog, joining the team as an undrafted free agent and earning an unlikely roster spot every season. The team and McConnell chose to go in different directions as the Sixers brought in veterans Raul Neto and Trey Burke to handle backup point guard duties.

JJ Redick — Sixers vs. Pelicans, Dec. 13, 7 p.m.

Redick had arguably the best two seasons of his NBA career with the Sixers. The two-man game with Joel Embiid and Redick was lethal. In a way, the Sixers signing Redick was similar to when the Phillies signed Jim Thome. Redick wasn’t the caliber player Thome was, but it symbolized Philadelphia being a destination again. It will also be our first peek at No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson.

Boban Marjanovic — Sixers vs. Mavericks, Dec. 20, 8 p.m.

The Tobi and Bobi Show gets another day in the sun. Marjanovic became a fan favorite pretty much immediately in Philadelphia when he arrived in a trade with his best friend, Tobias Harris. The massive Serbian got a standing ovation the first time he checked into a game at the Wells Fargo Center as a Sixer. I imagine the reception will be quite warm this time around as well.

Robert Covington — Sixers vs. Timberwolves, Oct. 30, 7 p.m.

Covington was traded last November, but missed both matchups against his former team last season. RoCo was one of the more underappreciated players the Sixers have had because his shooting ran so hot and cold. He should be warmly received this time around. The Butler trade didn’t work out exactly how the team would’ve liked, but it did ultimately net the Sixers Richardson.

Dario Saric — Sixers vs. Suns, March 27, 7 p.m.

Well, at least Saric got himself into warmer weather. He’ll also be reunited with former Sixers assistant Monty Williams, who took over as head coach in Phoenix. Those are really the only positives about Saric landing with the Suns. Always a fan favorite, Saric will be coming over to Philadelphia to a rousing ovation.

Markelle Fultz — Sixers vs. Magic, April 5, 1 p.m.

This one might be intriguing. Do we believe the hype around the latest Markelle Fultz shooting videos or do we think it’s the same story as last offseason? Fultz was the No. 1 overall pick for a reason, but obviously has yet to live up to anywhere near that lofty status. The crowd reaction could get ugly — especially if Fultz rediscovers his jumper and plays well.

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

Bruno Fernando — Sixers at Hawks, Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m.

Sure, there will be intrigue with Al Horford taking on his former teams, but let's face it: We all love to second guess every move ever. These games fall into the “what could’ve been” category. Edwards and Fernando were both acquired with picks originally held by the Sixers. General manager Elton Brand valued the roster spot/cap space more than drafting either player. It’s fair to note that Brand later re-signed Furkan Korkmaz to a deal. Would he have been better off selecting one of these two players? We’ll see.

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

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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)

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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.”

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