The Sixers (23-21) head to the Alamo City to face the San Antonio Spurs (32-18) at AT&T Arena where wins have come at a premium for Philadelphia. The last time they won on the Spurs' home-court was on January 3, 2004. Before that, they hadn't won there since 1986.
Both teams take the court coming off victories. Philadelphia defeated the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday. Ben Simmons controlled the game after not being selected as an All-Star with a dominant triple-double. The Sixers won by 14.
In San Antonio's previous game, they annihilated the Memphis Grizzlies by 23, had eight players scoring in double-figures and Pau Gasol was one assist shy of a triple-double against his former team.
Philadelphia has won eight out of their past 1o games. San Antonio has won five of their past 10.
Currently, the Sixers are the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference while the Spurs are the third seed in the Western Conference.
The Spurs are 20-3 at home this season while the Sixers are an even 11-11 on the road.
Spurs without Ginobili, Gay and Leonard
San Antonio will be without a few key players. Guard Manu Ginobili (right thigh contusion) and forwards Rudy Gay (right heel bursitis) and Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management) are all ruled out.
Ginobili still provides energy and leadership off the bench in his 15th season, averaging 9.1 points in 20.5 minutes.
Veteran Rudy Gay also provides a spark off the bench and is third in the team in scoring (11.5 points per game) behind All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard (who has only played in nine games).
Speaking of Leonard, he is out again while continuing to nurse his quad injury. Reports have surfaced he is unhappy in San Antonio due to the handling of this injury, and although Gregg Popovich has denied it, ESPN's Jalen Rose and others seems to think it's pretty serious.
The Sixers will be without Markelle Fultz (shoulder rehabilitation) and JJ Redick (left knee fracture). Jerryd Bayless is questionable with a wrist injury.
Sixers looking to continue a strong month
The Sixers were 3-4 in October.
In November, they went 9-5.
Philadelphia is 6-2 so far in January with wins over some of the league's best teams.
In the first game in the new year, they defeated these Spurs by a score of 112-106. They then crushed the Detroit Pistons and lost to the Boston Celtics in London. They came back strong in their next three games with impressive wins over the Toronto Raptors, Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks who are all players in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
They'll try to add another tally to the January win column against a quality opponent tonight.
Will the Spurs continue their win-loss trend?
The Spurs have a peculiar trend going on in January: San Antonio alternated wins and losses in their first nine games of the month.
They finally broke this streak after losing two in a row at the hands of the Raptors and Indiana Pacers on January 19th and 21st.
Now they've won two straight against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Grizzlies.
Looks like another two-game losing streak may be on the horizon based off the Spurs recent trends.
Key matchup between All-Star opponents
Team LeBron member LaMarcus Aldridge and Team Curry member Joel Embiid will be facing off in an All-Star game preview in this tilt.
Aldridge scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the first game between these teams earlier this month. Embiid scored 21 points and had 11 rebounds.
If Embiid controls the paint on both ends of the court, it may be hard for the Spurs to get an edge with the injuries they have to their perimeter players.
But this isn't Aldridge's first rodeo and he's capable of taking a game over by himself.
For the year, Aldridge is averaging 22.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. Embiid is averaging 23.7, 10.9 and 1.9.
|Matchup Preview | January 26, 2018|
(23-21, 11-11 Away)
|San Antonio Spurs
(32-18, 20-3 Home)