The Sixers are on the second half of a back-to-back after falling to the Memphis Grizzlies 106-104 Saturday. Owasso High School graduate Shake Milton led Philadelphia, who was without star center Joel Embiid due to right knee pain, scoring 28 points off the bench. However, second-year guard Ja Morant returned from a nine-game absence to help spur Memphis to the win.
Embiid will be out again tonight as well as Seth Curry. Curry is absent due to testing positive for COVID-19. Forward Al Horford, a former Sixer, will miss his second straight game for Oklahoma City.
After a 7-1 start, Philly is limping into the finale of a two-game road trip, having lost four of its last six games. Embiid leads the team at 25 points and 11.5 rebounds per game while two-time All-Star Ben Simmons is averaging 12.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.1 assists. Milton, a two-time Oklahoma Gatorade Player of the Year in high school, has emerged of late, averaging 27.6 points per game over the team’s last three contests.
Oklahoma City’s comeback on Friday was spearheaded by a concerted effort defensively as well as key hustle plays and strong offense down the stretch. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who leads the team in scoring at 21.6 points per game, scored 33 while Luguentz Dort scored 21 with six steals. The Thunder overcame a 18-point halftime deficit in their first home win of the season.
Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. The game will air on NBA TV and Fox Sports Oklahoma.
BY THE NUMBERS
104.1: Philadelphia is sixth in the NBA in defensive efficiency according to ESPN.com’s Hollinger stats. Oklahoma City ranks 18th at 108.
106: Oklahoma City is averaging 106 points per game, good for fourth-worst in the league so far this season. Philadelphia ranks 12th at 113.6.
16.4: The Sixers are one of the worst teams in the league so far at turning the ball over. They rank third-worst in the league at 16.4, only behind the Bulls and Miami Heat. The Thunder rank near the middle of the pack with 13.5.
Oklahoma City: Al Horford OUT (personal); Trevor Ariza OUT (personal); Ty Jerome OUT (ankle)
Philadelphia: Joel Embiid OUT (knee); Mike Scott OUT (knee); Seth Curry OUT (COVID-19); Furkan Korkmaz OUT (groin); Vincent Poirier OUT (medical/safety protocols)