No Embiid, a curious stat, more to know for Sixers vs. Blazers


Fresh off their best win of the young season Saturday against the Hawks, the Sixers welcome the Trail Blazers to Philadelphia.

Here are the essentials for Monday's game:

  • When: 7 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:15 p.m. 
  • Where: Wells Fargo Center 
  • Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia 
  • Live stream: and the MyTeams app 

And here are three storylines to watch:

Embiid’s first game of season on sidelines

Joel Embiid will rest after playing in the Sixers’ first six games. He’s been affected by right knee soreness after a knee-to-knee collision in the Sixers’ opener. Embiid has played 30 minutes per contest, averaging 21.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists.

Ben Simmons (personal reasons) and Grant Riller (left knee injury recovery) are also out.

Andre Drummond should start and oppose Jusuf Nurkić. Based on what we saw during the preseason, Paul Reed and Georges Niang will be the main center options behind Drummond.

“Overall, I feel great being here,” Drummond said after Monday’s shootaround. “I’ve had a lot of fun in the role I have. … For me personally, I think I’m doing a great job getting adjusted. The team has embraced me and I’m really happy to be here.” 

Will Lillard find his game in Philly?

Portland will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back after losing Sunday to the Hornets and falling to 3-3. 

Damian Lillard shot 2 for 14 from three-point range in that game, dropping his long-distance percentage to 23.2. Of course, the Sixers will be wary of a breakout performance from the six-time All-Star.

The team didn’t do anything exotic Saturday on Trae Young, largely relying on Tyrese Maxey to be solid on the ball, stay in the play after being screened and avoid excessive fouls. Lillard’s renowned for his range and Drummond doesn’t mind venturing out behind the arc, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Sixers throw extra bodies in Lillard’s direction. 


What to make of counterintuitive stat 

The Sixers are oddly last in pace but first in fast-break points after scoring 34 points Saturday on the fast break.

As those rankings suggest, the team has made the most of its early-season transition chances. Per Cleaning the Glass, the Sixers have scored 136.4 points per 100 transition plays, No. 1 in the league. And 19.8 percent of their possessions have started in transition, which ranks third in the NBA.

Expect many of the outlier statistics across the league to normalize as more games pile up. The Sixers’ pace and transition numbers will be interesting to follow, though, especially in light of Simmons’ absence.

Tobias Harris took a good-natured shot at team elder Danny Green in explaining the importance of hit-ahead passes for the Sixers.

“It helps us, because we have speed out there,” Harris said Saturday. “Danny, he doesn’t run with the greatest form, but he gets down there. He’s down in the corner all the time when we’re able to get out. 

“Tyrese is out there and he has his speed, so just being able to get the ball up and go and run, it pushes the pace of the team. A lot of teams aren’t set up defensively once we get a stop or once we get a rebound, and we’re out. We’ve got to keep looking at that and keep getting the ball up the floor — just keep our pace up.”