The Sixers (20-8) look to stay perfect at home while the Heat (19-8) look for a measure of revenge at the Wells Fargo Center Wednesday night.
The Sixers come into this one relatively healthy, though Josh Richardson admitted Tuesday he’s been dealing with an injury to his right shooting wrist.
Meanwhile, Miami will be without Goran Dragic (right groin strain), Justise Winslow (lower back strain) and James Johnson (personal reasons). Derrick Jones Jr. (migraine) is listed as questionable. Philly native Dion Waiters is serving yet another suspension.
Here are the essentials for tonight’s game:
When: 7 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
And here are three storylines to watch:
The Sixers’ schedule to start the season hasn’t been very forgiving. They just wrapped up five games in seven nights with an ugly loss to the Nets Sunday.
Safe to say, they enjoyed having the last two days to rest up.
“I’m not going to lie,” Richardson said after practice Tuesday, “usually it’s good to get right back at it because it’s the NBA and you have a lot of games, but for me personally it was good to just sit out and be still for a minute. After practice, I can tell all the guys are ready to go again.”
The Sixers should have Joel Embiid back, who missed Sunday’s game with an upper respiratory illness. While Richardson’s wrist injury won’t cause him to miss time, he admitted that it's affecting his ability to flick his wrist while shooting.
Up until Sunday’s night game, shooting hadn’t been much of a problem for Tobias Harris. Over his last 17 games, Harris is averaging 21.8 points a game while shooting 50.5 percent from the field and 39.4 from three.
Harris also thought the rest came at just the right time.
“We needed a couple days,” Harris said. “I think that kind of was another thing that affected that game, just legs and whatnot. So, yesterday to have the day off and today to come in here, get some work in and get a practice in, it’s always good. I think we definitely needed that day off. I needed a day.”
It wasn’t a typical day off for Harris, who spent time with students and teachers at Bethune Elementary School in North Philadelphia. Harris, who was given the richest contract in franchise history, continues to devote his time and money to various educational initiatives.
Avoiding the drama
On Monday, Sixers Twitter lost its collective mind when Trey Burke’s dad tweeted his displeasure with his son’s playing time. It then reached a fever pitch when big man Kyle O’Quinn liked a picture of the tweet that was shared on Instagram.
Welcome to the NBA in 2019.
Brett Brown’s club has mostly avoided drama this season. To Burke’s credit, he released a statement through the team saying that he disagreed with his father’s assessment. It also wasn’t the first time he’s dealt with his father being outspoken about his playing time.
As for O’Quinn, he faced the media Tuesday. Here’s what he had this to say when asked about liking the post and whether it had anything to do with how he felt about his own situation:
“No, I mean, it had nothing to do with me. Nothing to do with me. It was just a Philly post and a like is just kind of like acknowledgement. So if a guy goes down on another team and you like that post, am I cheering that on? I don't think so. I'm just acknowledging it. If I want to add a comment to say my thoughts, I will but a like I think is a little harmless and more thought deeply on your part.”
Another shot for Butler’s revenge game?
All that talk about Jimmy Butler’s return to the Wells Fargo Center and it was Richardson whole stole the show against his former team in a blowout on Nov. 23.
The Heat are coming off a brutal loss to the 10-17 Grizzlies Monday night. They gave up 73 points in the first half alone in the 118-111 defeat.
But just like the Sixers in Brooklyn, every team is due for a clunker. Miami looks like it isn’t going away in the East.
Butler looks well on his way to his fifth All-Star appearance, while young big Bam Adebayo may be poised to be for his first. While Butler and veteran Goran Dragic have carried a chunk of the scoring load, rookies Kendrick Nunn (16.1 points per game) and Tyler Herro (14.2) have been excellent.
With the Sixers at full strength, this will be a stiff test for the Heat.
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