By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor
After splitting their mini-series with the Detroit Pistons, the Sixers have traveled back home. They will have their biggest matchup of the season on Wednesday night, hosting LeBron James and the defending champion Lakers.
This star-filled contest will feature the top teams in each conference as the Lakers sit atop the Western Conference with a 14-4 record. It will also showcase two potential MVP finalist as James and Joel Embiid are both near the top of betting favorites to win the award this season.
The Lakers have been playing some of their best basketball outside of Staples Center this season. Heading into Wednesday's game, they sit at an impressive 10-0 in road games.
Joel Embiid has had his way in every matchup this season, but he is going to have his hands full against the Lakers' frontcourt. Marc Gasol has been one of the few centers in the league who can slow Embiid down one-on-one, and will also have a lurking Anthony Davis on the floor.
How Embiid handles all the size in the frontcourt will be a major thing to watch in this contest. He has had his way against Davis in the past, but a double team of Gasol and Davis could cause issues.
Things went well for the Sixers when they hosted the Lakers last season. They would go on and win by 17 points and did so without the services of Joel Embiid. Ben Simmons would lead the charge for the Sixers, racking up an incredible stat line of 28 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, and four steals.
Facing off against the Lakers should be a great test for the Sixers to gauge themselves. After having a rather easy schedule to start the season, they have their first real chance to stack up against a top-tier team in the league.
The Lakers are the favorite to come out of the Western Conference for good reason. Although still early in the season, this game should allow the Sixers to see how they measure up as a contender as currently constructed.
Wednesday night has the chance to be a statement game for the Sixers. If they can go out and take down the Lakers, it should place them near the top of the list of teams that can win a title this season.
Not to mention, a game like this is a golden opportunity (pun intended) for Joel Embiid to stack his MVP resume even more.