Updated: 5:02 p.m.
The 20-7 Sixers, winners of five in a row and 13 of their last 15, will be shorthanded for Sunday night's game against the 13-12 Nets.
Below are the essentials:
When: 6 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 5:45 p.m.
Where: Barclays Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
And here are three storylines to watch:
As 1 big returns, another is out
Joel Embiid is out because of an upper respiratory illness, while Al Horford will play. The veteran big has been dealing with left knee soreness and left hamstring tightness that’s caused him to miss the past two games.
Embiid played 31 minutes Friday vs. the Pelicans, right around his season average, and has missed five of the Sixers’ first 27 games because of injuries, load management and a two-game suspension for an Oct. 30 fight with the Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns. The Sixers have a 3-2 record without Embiid.
Norvel Pelle would seem well positioned to again receive meaningful minutes. The 26-year-old was Embiid’s main backup Friday and had a real impact in his 12 minutes (see story).
‘Honestly, I liked that they fouled’
The final few minutes of the Sixers’ win over the Pelicans were laborious, and one reason why is that New Orleans had early success with intentionally fouling Ben Simmons. The Australian missed three of his first four attempts after the Pelicans turned to the “Hack-a-Simmons” strategy.
“My belief is he's going to have to go through some of that to get where we want to deliver him,” Brett Brown said.
Simmons, who’s shooting 58.3 percent on free throws this year, made his final four foul shots vs. New Orleans. When the Sixers hold a lead late in the game, it’s an approach they very well may continue to see.
“Honestly, I liked that they fouled,” Tobias Harris said. "I think it’s good in these type of situations for him to get used to that, because come playoff time if a team decides to do that, we can’t afford to take him out of the game. ... If teams decide to do that he’ll be confident enough to be able to knock those shots down and we’ll need that, especially when we’re talking long term, down the road.”
Though the Sixers are now the only NBA team that’s undefeated at home, they were far from thrilled after beating the Pelicans.
Harris said he thought there was “a little bit of contentment.”
Embiid acknowledged the team wasn’t as engaged as it had been Thursday in Boston.
“I think we should bring the same intensity every game,” he said. “We didn’t do that tonight. Last night you could tell we were more focused than tonight. It happens — back-to-back, guys are tired. But you’ve still gotta take care of business, and we got that win.”
The Sixers’ lapses in effort and defensive execution didn’t cost them, in part because they only turned it over nine times. It also helped that Simmons, Harris and Embiid all scored 20 or more points as teammates in the same game for the first time.
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