76ers

Sixers get unpleasant look at a freak of nature

Sixers get unpleasant look at a freak of nature

BOX SCORE

MILWAUKEE — The “Greek Freak” was back in the lineup, and oh how that changes a game.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 31 points, 18 rebounds and six assists in the Bucks’ 107-95 win over the Sixers on Monday after missing their previous matchup in Philadelphia. 

“He’s the head of their snake,” Brett Brown said before the game. “He’s the focal point of their offense and trying to find matchups that can guard him is challenging.”

The Sixers dropped to 24-23, while the Bucks improved to 27-22. 

• Joel Embiid did not play because of his back-to-back restriction. He was made available for consecutive games Sunday, but on Monday he was ruled out after playing 36 minutes the previous night against the Thunder. 

“There was a lot of loading,” Brown said. “There was a lot of up-and-down last night. It was always going to be a decision how we handled him this morning. When you look at it sort of in the totality with all the games coming up, we didn’t feel comfortable putting him in a situation tonight.” 

The Sixers fell to 2-8 without Embiid. They are planning for him to play in his first career back-to-back Friday at home against the Heat and Saturday on the road against the Pacers. He was with the team on the bench in Milwaukee.

• The Sixers shot a dismal 2 for 26 from three-point range. That equates to a mere 7.7 percent. Robert Covington (1 for 8), Dario Saric (0 for 8) and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (0 for 4) took the majority of the attempts. Saric still finished with a team-high 19 points. 

• On the flip side, the Sixers went 21 for 23 at the line. They also limited turnovers to 14 but the Bucks committed only nine. 

• Ben Simmons finished with 16 points, six rebounds and five assists. Covington and Richaun Holmes, who played 23 minutes in Embiid's absence, scored 13 apiece. 

• Khris Middleton had another solid game against the Sixers with 19 points, seven rebounds and six dimes. 

• JJ Redick (leg) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) did not play. Watch Markelle Fultz (shoulder) go through pregame drills:

• Injury-hampered Bucks forward Jabari Parker was cleared to play this Friday. It will be his first game since suffering an ACL tear last February. 

Watch NBC Sports BetCast for live betting analysis during Sixers vs. Pelicans

Watch NBC Sports BetCast for live betting analysis during Sixers vs. Pelicans

Marc Farzetta, Tyrone Johnson and betting expert Brad Feinberg will host NBC Sports BetCast Friday night on NBC Sports Philadelphia+ during the Sixers' game vs. the Pelicans. 

It will be the third of 10 BetCast broadcasts this season on NBCSP+, with Marc Zumoff, Alaa Abdelnaby and Serena Winters calling the game simultaneously on NBCSP.

The BetCast broadcast will focus on real-time sports betting data and provide live analysis on the odds.

Will the total score be over or under 223 points? How many points will JJ Redick score in his return to Philadelphia? After making two three-pointers Thursday night in Boston, how many will Joel Embiid hit tonight?

Farzetta, Feinberg and Johnson will break it all down as the game unfolds Friday night.

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.

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Sixers vs. Pelicans: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

Sixers vs. Pelicans: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

After the Sixers' win over the Celtics on Thursday night at TD Garden, they're one of two remaining undefeated teams in the NBA, along with the Heat. Miami hosts the 22-3 Lakers on Friday night.

The 19-7 Sixers can move to 14-0 at Wells Fargo Center tonight with a win over the 6-19 Pelicans.

Here are tonight’s essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia (NBC Sports BetCast on NBCSP+)
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

And here are three storylines to watch: 

No Horford again 

Al Horford will miss his second consecutive game with left knee soreness and left hamstring tightness.

The regular starting lineup was briefly intact for Tuesday's win over the Nuggets in Richardson's first game back after a six-game absence because of a hamstring injury, but that didn't last long.

Mike Scott took Horford’s place Thursday and played well in his second start of the season, scoring 15 points and making 5 of 7 three-pointers.

“I just do my job,” Scott told reporters. “Catch and shoot, move the ball, play hard on defense. Same role when I come off the bench, so it's pretty easy.”

Joel Embiid, after a 38-point, 13-rebound night against the Celtics, is not listed on the NBA’s official injury report, so it looks like he’ll play in the second game of this back-to-back.

Redick is back in the building 

JJ Redick is set to play his first game against the Sixers since signing a two-year, $26.5 million with the Pelicans this summer.

Though the Sixers’ offense has missed Redick’s outside shooting, savvy screening and two-man game with Embiid, the team's three-point numbers have not taken an extreme dip. 

The Sixers are shooting 37.1 percent from three-point range, sixth in the NBA.

Redick had interesting insights on the Sixers’ post-heavy offense, Joel Embiid’s maturity and more after the Pelicans’ shootaround (see story).

The Zion-less Pelicans are struggling 

No. 1 pick Zion Williamson is with the Pelicans, but he’s sidelined as he recovers from surgery on his right knee.

Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry said Friday that Williamson is on schedule and the team doesn’t want to rush his return.

New Orleans comes into Philadelphia on a 10-game losing streak and has the third-worst defensive rating in the NBA. Former Sixers Redick, Jrue Holiday and Jahlil Okafor feature for the Pelicans, while Brandon Ingram is having a career year.

The 22-year-old Ingram, who was traded from the Lakers to New Orleans this summer along with Villanova product Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball, is averaging 24.9 points per game and shooting 40.8 percent from three-point range. 

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.

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