By Sean McBryan, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer
The Sixers get a second crack at the Houston Rockets on Monday night at the Toyota Center. This is the second matchup between these teams in less than a week. The Sixers fell 104-105 on a buzzer beater by Eric Gordon last Wednesday. Philadelphia will certainly be looking for revenge in this one, as questionable coaching and time management doomed them in the first game.
Now with that out of the way, the Sixers did finally win a close game against Dallas, the game sandwiched between these two games against Houston. Philadelphia is 2-4 on the year.
The Rockets won a game and lost a game in between the two tilts against Philadelphia, beating the Charlotte Hornets and losing to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies are the 5-2 Rockets' only losses this year.
Chris Paul has been out with a bruised knee and won’t play in this one. Eric Gordon sat out against the Grizzlies on Saturday with an illness but is expected to play tonight. Joel Embiid has a bruised hand but said he will play. It was recently announced Markelle Fultz will be out indefinitely with a nagging shoulder issue.
The top two players on each team, James Harden and Joel Embiid, are third and fourth in turnovers per game in the NBA. Harden averages 4.7 a game and Embiid averages 4.8. As a team, the Sixers are 26th in the league with 17.5 turnovers per game while the Rockets are 22th with 16.4. Both like to push the pace, but will clearly be hoping to limit the giveaways they have tonight.
Houston we have a problem: Harden haunts the Sixers
The Rockets have dominated the series as of late, winning eight straight. The last time Philadelphia won was during the 2013-14 season. Just in time for Halloween, the Sixers will be going up against one of their scariest opponents. James Harden has averaged 37 points, 11.6 assists and 7.6 rebounds the past three games against the Sixers, including a 50-point triple-double.
Simmons and Embiid look to continue strong play
Young studs Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid look to counteract the offensive onslaught Harden is sure to bring. Simmons has played so well, he’s found his name alongside Oscar Robertson in many statistical categories in their first few games. Embiid’s rim protection will also be key against Harden, as well as his ability to spread the floor and make outside shots at his height.
|Matchup Preview | October 30, 2017|
(2-4, 2-2 Away)
(5-2, 1-1 Home)
Location: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus (previously TCN)
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic