The Sixers will hope they can improve to 2-1 in the NBA’s “bubble” on Wednesday without as much drama as was required in Monday’s night win over the Spurs.
Mike Scott is out for the third straight game because of right knee soreness and Glenn Robinson III is doubtful with a left hip pointer for today’s game against the Wizards.
Here are the essentials:
When: 4 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 3
Where: The Arena at the World Wide of Sports Complex
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
And here are three storylines to watch:
Another shorthanded opponent
For the Sixers’ first two seeding games, the Pacers were missing All-Star Domantas Sabonis and the Spurs were without LaMarcus Aldridge. Washington is down its top two scorers, Bradley Beal (right rotator cuff injury) and Davis Bertans (opted out), and is 0-3 so far at Disney World.
The 24-43 Wizards are the Sixers’ easiest matchup in the seeding games — at least on paper.
A refreshed Harris
Tobias Harris attempted a season-high 29 field goals in the Sixers’ first seeding game, including eight threes. Against San Antonio, he scored 25 points.
He’s playing with the committed aggression Brown and the Sixers want to see, and he said Monday that’s a byproduct of a mental reset while he was away from basketball. The physical rest also likely didn’t hurt for a player who was leading the league in minutes before the NBA’s hiatus.
“To be honest, I just have a brand-new confidence in myself, in my game, knowing what I’m capable of,” he said. “I’m just going to continue to reach different levels. For me, it’s going out there and establishing that each and every day. Through the pandemic, being able to be home and not being able to be in the gym, there were moments and opportunities for me to really work on my mental game and get myself in a place where I know what to expect.
“Now, I’m just fueling off that confidence every day, continuing to tell myself who I want to be, what I want to be and how I want our team to go. It’s just a confidence thing, and I’m having fun playing this game that I love.”
Waiting on the best version of Simmons
Foul trouble played a major role last game, but Ben Simmons’ opening two seeding games have not quite gone as planned. Opponents have shot 17 of 24 when defended by him. Brown wants Simmons to be getting to the foul line more as a nominal power forward, and yet the two-time All-Star didn’t attempt a foul shot in 25 minutes vs. the Spurs. He hasn’t taken a three-pointer either despite the “paradigm shift” Brown said he’s seen in Simmons’ mindset.
The Sixers in these seeding games are aiming to both nail down who will fill specific postseason roles and have players acclimate to new ones. This should be a good chance for Simmons to have his first big game at Disney World as a starting power forward.
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