Updated: March 30, 7:10 p.m.
Joel Embiid and the Sixers dominated the Timberwolves and Karl-Anthony Towns in their previous matchup this season. Embiid posted 31 points and 13 rebounds, Towns shot 4 for 10 and was an unfathomable minus-42, and the Sixers won on Jan. 15, 149-107.
We won't get to see an Embiid vs. Towns rematch Saturday in Minnesota. In fact, we won’t see Embiid for the team’s entire three-game road trip.
Joel Embiid who will not play tonight (load management) will not meet the team on this trip.— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) March 30, 2019
Brett Brown says they will see Joel back in Philadelphia for the Milwaukee game.
Brett says they are just being proactive and smart about his load management.
Saturday will be the second load management day for Embiid since his return from left knee tendinitis on March 10, and it makes sense. Even without Embiid, the Sixers should be able to handle a Timberwolves team missing Robert Covington (ankle), Jeff Teague (foot) and Derrick Rose (elbow) with nothing to play for. The Sixers are getting closer to wrapping up the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. They have a 3.5-game edge over both the Pacers and Celtics following Kyrie Irving's game-winning layup Friday in Boston.
The Mavericks and Hawks will present tougher matchups, but Embiid’s health is clearly the top priority.
Rookie Jonah Bolden will get the start Saturday, but Boban Marjanovic will likely see more time Saturday night as a result of Embiid's absence. Marjanovic had 16 points in 18 minutes in the Sixers' win Wednesday over Brooklyn. This situation presents a good opportunity to get Bolden minutes. As the playoffs approach, it would be ideal for the Sixers to have Bolden sharp and ready when called upon if certain matchups against more mobile centers make Marjanovic unplayable.
After missing the past two games with a right quad bruise, James Ennis will play against Minnesota. Shake Milton took the bulk of Ennis' playing time against Orlando and Brooklyn, and the rookie performed well. Jonathon Simmons played 12 minutes in Orlando, then sat Wednesday night.
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