Hey, a basketball game!
The Sixers (33-21) can put the drama aside for one night as they host one of the best in the West in the Clippers (37-16) Tuesday night.
Both teams come into the matchup relatively healthy with the exception of L.A. guard Patrick Beverley, who’s out with a sore right groin.
It will be the first time Kawhi Leonard is in the Wells Fargo Center since he hit the quadruple doink in Toronto that ended the Sixers' playoff run. Look for Leonard and Ben Simmons to be locked up throughout the night.
Here are three storylines to watch:
Will being a ‘good a--hole’ lead to dominant play?
Joel Embiid has had Sixers fans on an emotional roller coaster over the past 48 hours.
From shushing the crowd to weird social media posts, Embiid’s trolling game is on another level right now. It probably shouldn’t surprise us after the comments he made postgame Sunday.
I mean, I don’t care how it looks. I’m just playing basketball. Just getting back to myself, just being a good a--hole. Just playing basketball and just trying to dominate.
So, will Embiid being a “good a—hole” lead to the All-Star center playing at top form against the Clippers? It would sure go a long way in ending all the silliness that has gone on off the court.
Burks to make his debut
Often when players are traded, people forget about the human element involved. Alec Burks was enjoying a career year and fitting in well with the Warriors before finding out on the team plane he'd been traded early Thursday morning.
He had to get his wife and young daughter settled on the other side of the country and caught a red-eye flight that landed early Sunday morning. When he arrived, he was put through medical exams all day. He was in no shape to play an NBA game.
On Tuesday, Burks is expected to make his Sixers debut and be a part of the rotation. Burks’ skillset is perfect for the Sixers. He should be able to provide them shot creation and bench scoring — two things they’ve sorely lacked at times this season.
In his only game against the Clippers this season, Burks had a tough outing, going just 3 of 17. He did have eight rebounds and five assists. Burks can be a streaky player, but when he’s on, he’ll add a strong scoring punch off the Sixers’ bench.
A change to the starting lineup?
It’s no secret that Al Horford’s fit in the starting lineup has been clunky. Much has been made about Horford’s playing next to Embiid, but with the way this team is constructed, Tobias Harris may also be better suited to play the four.
Brett Brown hasn’t shied away from addressing Horford’s struggles. When asked about the possibility of making a change to the starting lineup Friday, Brown said everything was “on the table.”
He was even more forthcoming at practice Monday when asked about matching up against the Clippers:
I think my immediate answer would be is I would suspect so because it's an unlikely sort of group that you have to match up with, initially right from the get go with this at the start of the game. How we do that, how we start the game, how we match up, we'll discuss more tomorrow. But your question is fair. There's a lot of mobile wings, more than a lot of top heavy bigs.
Ivica Zubac is the only true center that plays for Glenn Rivers’ team. The Clippers often use All-Star wing Paul George at the four and the 6-foot-7 Montrezl Harrell as a five.
Rookie Matisse Thybulle or newcomer Glenn Robinson III would be prime candidates as Brown will likely look to keep Burks and Furkan Korkmaz in roles off the bench.
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