Sixers Fall to Jazz Despite Career Night from Simmons

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Sixers would wrap up their four-game Western Conference trip on Monday night, facing off against the red-hot Utah Jazz. On top of having to face off against the top team in the Western Conference, they would do so without the services of Joel Embiid. He would be a late scratch in this game due to back tightness.

Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris would do their best to lead the charge without Embiid, but it would just not be enough. In the end, the Sixers would fall to the Jazz by a final score of 134-123.

Someone would have to set the tone for the Sixers without Embiid in the lineup, and Ben Simmons would do just that. He would come out and score 19 points in the first quarter en route to finishing the game with a new career-high.

Simmons would get it done on both ends of the floor for the Sixers, but it would not be enough to combat the Jazz's offense. He would go on to end the game with 42 points, nine rebounds, 12 assists, one steal, and one block.

The key thing that stood out about Simmons' dominant performance was his efficiency. He would knock down 15 of his 26 shot attempts, and convert 12 of his 13 free-throws.

Sadly this incredible showing would result in a losing effort, but seeing Simmons step up and assert himself like this without Embiid is a great sign for him moving forward.

Tobias Harris would play his part in leading the charge offensively with Simmons. He would also erupt offensively, racking up 36 points on an impressive 14-24 shooting. Along with his scoring, Harris would also come down with 10 rebounds, dish two assists, and grab two steals.

Bench scoring and three-point shooting would be the Achilles heel for the Sixers for the second straight game. The Sixers' bench continues to struggle to create offense in the absence of Shake Milton. Utah's bench would outscore the Sixers 57-25 in this one, with 40 of those points coming from Jordan Clarkson.

The Sixers would attempt slightly more threes than they did against the Suns over the weekend, but still not enough to hang around in the game. Clarkson's eight made threes would make the amount the Sixers would make as a team.

Trading threes with two against the Jazz all night would prove to be costly. Once Utah's shooters found the range from deep, it became near impossible for the Sixers to claw back into the game.

This road trip has shown a lot of key areas of improvement for the Sixers going forward. Luckily for them, these issues can be fixed somewhat easily.

Despite going 1-3 on this road trip the Sixers still hold on to the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Looking ahead, they will be back in action on their home floor on Wednesday night to host John Wall and the Houston Rockets.


Things to Watch: Sixers Versus Suns

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

After a tough loss against the Trail Blazers on Thursday, the Sixers continue their Western Conference swing facing off against the Phoenix Suns. This will be a tough matchup as the Suns are riding high on a four-game win streak. 

Here are three things to watch in the afternoon matchup. 

Battle of strong defenses 

One thing these two teams have done well this season is defend. Heading into this matchup, the Sixers and Suns find themselves at fifth and sixth in the NBA in defensive rating. This should lead to a good 'grind it out' kind of game. 

Outside of Deandre Ayton, the Suns don't have much frontcourt help defensively, but they have a lot of capable wing defenders. With guys like Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder, the Suns are more than capable to slow teams down on the perimeter. 

Seeing how the Sixers respond to these capable wing defenders will be a major factor to watch. We have seen how the Sixers offense can stall when the outside shots aren't falling. The Suns might be able to give the Sixers some trouble if they can contest shots on the outside and shrink the floor for Joel Embiid. 

Playing at your pace 

Doc Rivers has talked all season about that he wants the Sixers to play at their speed in games. We saw in Sacramento that things got a little out of hand when they had to get into a track meet with the young Kings' squad. 

Pace could play a major factor in this game but in the opposite way of how things went down to kick off this road trip. Right now the Sixers are a top-five team in the league in terms of pace, while the Suns are second to last in that regard. 

Controlling the speed of the game should be a major focus for the Sixers. If they can get out in transition and make the Suns play up to their speed it could throw off their rhythm and help the Sixers take control of this game. 

Defending star guards

Looking at this road trip there is one common theme, facing off against some of the league's top young guards. It started with De'Arron Fox, then Damian Lillard, now the Sixers will have their hands full with not only Devin Booker but Chris Paul as well. 

The backcourt duo has been playing incredible basketball during the Suns' current winning streak. Over their last four games, Booker and Paul are both scoring over 20 points per game and dishing at least six assists. Slowing these two down offensively should be the top priority heading into this game. 

Ben Simmons is coming off a strong defensive performance against Damian Lillard, and will likely be the primary defender for Booker this afternoon. This could be a game where Matisse Thybulle can come in and be an X-factor with his defense. 

Thybulle did a great job slowing down Fox a couple of nights ago and will likely get his crack at both Suns' guards. If Thybulle can slow these two down during the minutes when Simmons is off the floor it could play a big part in securing a victory. 


Sixers Fall Just Short in Loss to Blazers

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

After picking up arguably their most hard-fought win of the season against the Kings, the Sixers would travel to Portland to take on the Trail Blazers. The Sixers would be looking to get revenge on the Blazers after losing to them on their home floor last week, but that would not be the case.

Both teams would put on a great effort in this matchup, resulting in the game coming down to the final possessions. In the end, the Blazers would hit some big shots late to come away with a 118-114 victory. The Sixers have now lost their first game of the season when all five starters in the lineup.

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons we crucial in the Sixers' effort to take this game down to the wire. Portland had no answer for Embiid the first time these teams met, and it would be more of the same in this one. He would go off for another huge scoring outing, finishing with a team-high 35 points.

Simmons came out and set the tone in this game right from the opening tip. He would score 13 points in the fourth quarter en route to dropping a season-high 23 points. Along with his scoring, Simmons would lead the team in rebounds (11) and assists (9), finishing just shy of a triple-double.

This performance from Simmons is up there with his best of the season, sadly it was in a losing effort. The level of assertiveness and confidence he has shown as of late is a great sign for him moving forward.

Two key areas that hurt the Sixers in this game were three-point shooting and offensive rebounding. Portland would grab 15 offensive rebounds in this game and knock down 11 more threes than the Sixers. Allowing the Blazers to get extra possessions off the glass would prove to be costly.

Outside shooting would be a major struggle against the Blazers for the second straight time. As a team they would shoot just 22.2% from beyond, hitting six of their 27 attempts. This would make Joel Embiid's life harder as the Blazers were able to clog the paint on him.

The Sixers' defense would do an alright job defending Damian Lillard even though he went on to finish with 30 points, but what swung the game was the play of the supporting cast. Gary Trent Jr. would get hot from deep with Lillard in the first quarter to help Portland break out to an early lead, and then Carmelo Anthony would hit huge shots in the second half to help secure the victory.

When all was said and done Trent Jr. and Anthony would finish with 19 and 24 points respectively. Shutting down the supporting cast should be a major point of attack when going against a star like Lillard, but the Blazers' role players were able to surge and help steal a late-game victory.

After picking up a hard-earned win in their last game it is tough to be on the receiving end of a loss like this. Luckily for the Sixers, they will be able to put this game behind them quickly.

Looking ahead, the Sixers will be back in action again on Saturday for an afternoon matchup against Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns.


Strong Fourth Quarter Lifts Sixers Over Kings

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

After a short homestand, the Sixers would be on the road for their first West Coast trip of the season. First up on their four-game trip were the Sacramento Kings, who have been scorching hot as of late.

The Kings have been a team known for liking to play fast, and it did not take long for things to turn into a track meet. This increase in pace did not seem to phase the Sixers early, as they would open the game to a big lead.

Things would change quickly though, as the Kings would get hot from deep and swing the momentum back in their favor. After their second quarter surge, the game would remain on the seesaw until the end.

After a strong performance in the fourth quarter, the Sixers would go on to win by a final score of 119-111. The team remains undefeated when all five starters are in the lineup, now sitting at 14-0 on the year.

Joel Embiid would have a slow start to this game but would come alive when needed most. He would flirt with a triple-double, racking up 25 points, 17 rebounds, and a season-high six assists. His play down the stretch was a crucial factor in the Sixers pulling out this victory.

Another Sixer who would come alive late after a slow start was Tobias Harris. He continues to put on strong showings in the fourth quarter to help secure victories. Harris would end the game tied for the second-leading scorer with 22 points along with coming down with 10 rebounds.

Seth Curry looked to be getting back to his old ways against the Nets on Saturday and would come alive against one of his former teams. He would match Harris' total with 22 points, and knockdown four of his six attempts from three. After really struggling in his return to the lineup, it is great to see Curry looking like his old self again.

Since his efforts in the comeback win against the Indiana Pacers, Furkan Korkmaz has been playing with newfound confidence. His impressive play as of late would continue against the Kings as he would be the leading scorer off the bench with 13 points on a very effective 5-7 shooting.

The standout player on the Kings' side would be De'Arron Fox. He would continue his hot play this month, racking up 34 points and 10 assists in the loss. Fox was getting just about anything he wanted on the floor until Doc Rivers put Matisse Thybulle on him late in the game.

One major factor that led to this Sixers' victory was their increased activity on the perimeter defensively. After shooting the lights out from deep in the first half, the Sixers made sure that would not continue after halftime. Sacramento would shoot 11/20 from deep in the first half, and then just 3/22 in the final two quarters.

This was a great win to kick off what could shape up to be a pretty tough road trip. The way the Sixers played hard and made plays on both sides of the floor late in the game is a great sign of how well this group is coming together.

Looking ahead, the Sixers will be back in action on Thursday as they look to get revenge against the Portland Trail Blazers.


Things to Watch: Sixers Versus Nets

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Sixers have their biggest matchup of the season since facing the Lakers, squaring off against the Brooklyn Nets in primetime on Saturday night. Although the Nets will be without Kevin Durant due to health and safety protocols, this will still be a star-studded matchup. 

Here are some things to watch in the matchup of two of the Eastern Conference's top teams. 

Battle of offense vs. defense 

Both of these rosters have established themselves as a top team in the league on one side of the floor. Since acquiring James Harden, the Nets have built one of the best offensive trios arguably in the history of the league. While Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid have turned the Sixers into a defensive powerhouse. 

Brooklyn will not be as scary on offense now that Durant will not be making the trip to Philadelphia, but Harden and Kyrie Irving a lethal duo scoring the ball. Seeing which side wins this battle of top offense vs top defense should be lead to an incredible matchup. 

Heading into this matchup, the Nets currently sit at third in the NBA in offensive rating. On the other side of things, the Sixers are fourth in the NBA in defensive rating. 

Embiid's continued dominance 

As great as the Nets are on offense, they are a completely different story when it comes to defense. They currently sit at 26th in the league in defensive rating, and now have to face off against a favorite for the MVP award. 

Joel Embiid has been on a tear this season but has been even more impressive in the team's recent stretch. He has broken the 30 point mark in six of his last seven games heading into this matchup against the Nets. 

Now that Jarrett Allen is no longer a member of the Nets, they have no player in the frontcourt who can match up with Embiid. Their only answer is DeAndre Jordan, who has seen little success defending Embiid in the past. 

 Embiid has punished teams for going small against him, and this matchup should see more of the same. With the Nets being close a revolving door on defense, we could see Embiid's highest scoring outburst of the season. 

Late game scoring 

The battle of offense and defense will be in full effect if this game is close down the stretch. As great of scorers Harden, Irving, and Durant are they have been even better down the stretch of games. 

Brooklyn's trio is currently the top three in points per game in the fourth quarter this season. Slowing down Irving and Harden and forcing the supporting cast to make plays is going to be crucial for the Sixers' defense. 

Matisse Thybulle becoming an X-factor 

Part of what makes the Sixers so strong defensively is how many players are bought in on that side of the floor. Many teams don't have a perimeter defender as impactful as Matisse Thybulle, let alone one coming off the bench. 

Ben Simmons and Thybulle showed they can be a nightmare for opposing teams in their comeback win over the Pacers, and they will need more of that energy tonight. With how well Thybulle has been playing defensively as of late, he should be leading the charge with Simmons defending the Nets' stars. 

Thybulle was big for the Sixers defensively in their win over the Lakers, and he could be an X-factor in this matchup as well. If he can hold his own and slow down Kyrie Irving with Simmons defending Harden, defense will likely overcome offense in this battle of NBA juggernauts.  


Sixers Fall to Blazers Despite Big Embiid Performance

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Sixers would be back home on Thursday to finish off a back-to-back against the Hornets and Trail Blazers. Portland would be without most of their key players, but they did not let that stop them.

Joel Embiid would put on another incredible performance on offense, but it just wasn't enough tonight. The shorthanded Blazers would go on to end the Sixers' winning streak, stealing this game by a final score of 121-105.

After giving everyone a scare by going to the locker room after buckling his knee coming down off a chase-down block, Embiid would steamroll the Blazers' defense. He would end the night with 37 points in just 33 minutes of action.

This phenomenal Embiid performance would be wasted as the supporting cast would struggle. Tobias Harris would look mortal for the first time weeks, and Ben Simmons was inactive due to calf tightness.

Harris would end the game with 12 points and 11 rebounds while shooting a rough 5-14 from the floor. Furkan Korkmaz would start in place of Simmons and finish as the team's second-leading scorer with 13 points.

The starting backcourt of Danny Green and Seth Curry would have a night to forget against Portland. They would combine for just three points in a total of 38 minutes of action.

Curry has had his struggles since returning to the lineup, and things would continue to go downhill for him. He would play just 12 minutes, exiting the game early due to injury.

Two major areas that led to the Sixers' loss in this one were three-point shooting and rebounding. The Sixers did not connect on their first shot from deep until halfway through the third quarter and would end the night a combined 7-27 (25.9%) from beyond the arc.

Portland would outwork the Sixers on the glass in this matchup, coming down with 14 more rebounds. This area is the biggest standout to the Sixers' effort in this game, letting a team outwork them for rebounds spoke volumes to how gassed and lifeless they were on the floor.

This was a very winnable game that the Sixers let slip through their fingers. Although it might not mean much in the grand scheme, it could be a game down the road the team wishes they could have back.

All the Sixers can do know is learn from this outing and move on. One benefit of the condensed schedule this season is that it allows teams to wash out the taste of a bad loss quickly.

The Sixers are going to need to have short term memory with this loss and gear up for their upcoming matchup. They will be back in action in primetime on Saturday for a battle of Eastern Conference juggernauts with the Brooklyn Nets.


Grades From Sixers' Comeback Win Over Pacers

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Sixers have had their struggles this season playing without Joel Embiid, but that would not be the case against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night. After an incredible performance in the fourth quarter, the Sixers would complete a 20 point comeback and beat the Pacers 119-110.

Here are some grades from the Sixers' hard-fought victory.

Doc Rivers: A+

Before diving into the players, some credit needs to be given to the coach. There have been a couple of games this season that could be said the Sixers don't win in previous seasons, and this win sits at the top of that list.

Doc Rivers deserves a lot of credit for rallying the team and not letting them roll over after going down big. Wins like this show just how big of an addition Rivers has been to this organization.

In-game adjustments are another reason why Rivers gets an A+ for this game. Dropping the defense into a zone in the final quarter would be a crucial adjustment that would eventually lead to a win. The Pacers had no answer for the zone, and the Sixers would go on a 21-6 run as a result of that.

All in all great job from Rivers to keep morale high and put this team in a position to come away with a win.

Ben Simmons: A+

Without Embiid in the lineup, the Sixers we need to find scoring from other areas. Ben Simmons would take it upon himself to lead the charge for the Sixers, turning in arguably his best performance of the season in the process. 

Simmons would end the night with 21 points, six rebounds, seven assists, four steals, and two blocks. He would also shoot an efficient 9-12 from the floor. 

Many people like to zero in on Simmons during games when Embiid doesn't play, but there weren't many bad things to say about him in this one. He and Tobias Harris did a great job keeping the Sixers in the game until the second unit came alive late in the third quarter. 

Tobias Harris: A

Tobias Harris would continue his all-star campaign against the Pacers by turning in another great performance. He would end the game as the Sixers' leading scorer with 27 points, and also came down with eight rebounds. 

Harris' play would stand out in the fourth quarter as he would knock down some big shots late to help complete the comeback. 10 of his 27 points would come in the final quarter while hitting four of his five shot attempts. 

There is no denying how crucial Harris has been to the Sixers' success this season. At this point, it will be tough to deny him the first all-star selection of his career. 

Furkan Korkmaz: B+

Another player who was huge for the Sixers down the stretch was Furkan Korkmaz. He would hit multiple shots in the fourth quarter en route to being the team's top scorer off the bench.

Korkmaz would score a season-high 17 points against Indiana, with 11 of those points coming in the final 12 minutes. Along with his offense, he would also provide serviceable defense in the zone. 

This was a much-needed game for Korkmaz, who is still fresh off his return from injury. Putting on a late-game performance like this should be a nice confidence boost moving forward. 

Matisse Thybulle: B+

Matisse Thybulle would still have his struggles offensively, but his play defensively was a crucial piece to the Sixers overcoming their deficit on Sunday night. During his college career, Thybulle almost exclusively played in a zone defense, and he reminded everyone in this game.

After the game, Doc Rivers would say that Thybulle had 11 deflections in the fourth quarter alone. Along with all those deflections, he would also grab all four of his steals in the final quarter. 

The zone would not have been as effective as it was if it wasn't for Thybulle. His play at the top was incredible, being everywhere on the perimeter and frustrating Pacers' players. 

Thybulle's impact on the defensive end has been huge in recent games for the Sixers. If he can continue to figure out his game offensively, he will be an important piece for the team down the line. 


Things to Watch: Sixers Versus Pacers

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

After picking up a win in Minnesota on Friday, the Sixers continue their road trip. Next up is a Sunday night matchup against the Indiana Pacers. Here are three things to watch in the matchup.

Big man battles 

Similar to the Lakers, the Pacers are one of the few teams in the NBA that still roll out an old-school frontcourt. With Myles Turner and Damontas Sabonis in the lineup, Indiana will have a lot of size to throw at Joel Embiid.

The Lakers had that same amount of size to slow Embiid, but it still wasn't enough to contain the MVP frontrunner. How he handles going against two capable bigs again will be a major storyline to watch in this game.

Embiid has had success against the Pacers in the past. In 10 career games against them, he has averaged 28.4 PPG and 12.6 RPG. He's going to have his hands full in the frontcourt, but if he can continue to draw fouls at the rate he has been it should make his life a little easier.

Bench production 

Since the Sixers have gotten back to full health, one thing that has stood out is the depth this team showed early on in the season. In this recent stretch, the Sixers have gotten solid production from players like Shake Milton, Furkan Korkmaz, Tyrese Maxey, and Matisse Thybulle. 

If Doc Rivers can continue to get good minutes out of those players, it makes the team even more dangerous with the play of their three stars. The Pacers do not have much depth on their roster, so the bench battle will be something to watch in this matchup. 

With the scoring ability of Milton and Maxey paired with the defense Thybulle has been playing, the Sixers' second unit can give teams problems. Doc Rivers said earlier this season that he felt the bench unit was going to win some games for the team this year, and this could be one of those games. 

Making the Pacers settle for jump shots 

With Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid leading the charge, it's no surprise that the Sixers are one of the top defensive teams in the league this season. When defending this Pacers team, the Sixers should look to clog the lane and make them settle for perimeter shots. 

Clogging up the lane will make life harder for Sabonis, whose offensive game is centered around his post play. The other reason they should do it is that the Pacers have not been a good team shooting the long ball this season. 

Heading into this matchup, Indiana currently sits at 18th in the league in three-point percentage at 35.7%. On top of that, they also might be without Doug McDermott in this game, who is one of their top shooters from beyond the arc. 

The Pacers' only threats from deep are Malcolm Brogdon and Justin Holiday, the rest you can live with settling for shots on the outside. If Embiid can make life hard for the Pacers around the rim and turn them into jump shooters, it could lead to a Sixers' victory. 


Takeaways From Sixers' Last Second Win Over Lakers

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Sixers and Lakers would square off on Wednesday night in a matchup that held NBA finals implications. This battle of conference juggernauts would not disappoint, as the game would go down to the closing moments.

After some late-game heroics from Tobias Harris, the Sixers would walk away with a one point victory over the defending champs. Here are some takeaways from the star-studded contest.

Clash of MVP frontrunners 

Along with having both conference-leading teams, this matchup would also showcase two early favorites for the MVP award this year. Joel Embiid and LeBron James have each been off to dominant starts for their respective teams.

Both players would remind everyone why they are in the conversation for league MVP, putting on great performances in this must-match matchup.

Father time continues to miss LeBron James as he continues to be a top player in the league in his 18th season. He would go on to drop 34 points, six rebounds, and six assists against the Sixers on Wednesday night.

Embiid continues to do a phenomenal job leading the charge for the Sixers this season. Despite facing off against a familiar for in Marc Gasol, Embiid continues to be an unstoppable force on offense.

The reigning Eastern Conference player of the week would rack up 28 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals in this statement victory over the Lakers. He continues to sustain the high level of play we have seen all season while rising the MVP ladder in the process.

Sixers have a legitimate big three 

In games like this teams rely on their stars heavily, and the Sixers' stars would all lead the charge in this victory. We already mentioned how well Embiid played, but the other two All-Stars on the Sixers would get a piece of the action as well. 

Ben Simmons has always seemed to step up in matchups against LeBron James in the past, and this would be no different. He would be the team's third-leading scorer with 17 points en route to finishing with a triple-double. With that triple-double, The 24-year-old All-Star now sits at 13th all-time in triple-doubles. 

Turnovers have been a major issue for Simmons' in the team's recent stretch, but he would take great care of the ball against the Lakers. He would dish 10 assists in the game and only cough up the ball once. 

Tobias Harris has easily been the biggest bright spot for the Sixers this season outside of Embiid's MVP-Esq resume. His confidence looks to be at an all-time high, and it's resulting in some of his best play in a Sixers' uniform. 

Harris continues to be a great second option on offense behind Embiid this season. He would end this game with 24 points, including the biggest shot of the game. The ball was put in his hands in the closing moments and he would deliver a jumper over Alex Caruso to seal the victory for the Sixers. 

The play from these three has been incredible and is a big reason why they sit atop the Eastern Conference standings. It is time to start referring to this trio as a legitimate big three in the league. 

Coming up in the clutch 

When Doc Rivers spoke to the media pregame on Wednesday, one of the things he brought up was the team's play in fourth quarters this season. He would go on to say that he has liked the grit the team has played with late in games, mentioning that "it's one of the things great teams do."

His comments would play out right in front of us as the team would put on a good performance in the closing minutes. 

Along with hitting shots down the stretch, the Sixers also did a good job defending the final period, specifically on the Lakers' stars. James and Davis carried the load for the Lakers for a larger majority of this game but would shoot a combined 2/8 from the floor in the fourth quarter. 

Who is going to close games for the Sixers has been a big discussion around the Sixers since the departure of Jimmy Butler, and they would do it by committee in this one. When Joel Embiid was denied the ball in the final possession, Tobias Harris did a great job keeping the play alive and generating a good look that would eventually win the game for the Sixers. 

Seeing them execute in the final moments against a team like the Lakers was arguably the biggest takeaway from this game. With the way this group has come together in such a short time, the possibilities are endless for how good they can be by the end of a 'full' regular season.  


Sixers Face Their Biggest Test in Matchup With Lakers

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.