The Rockets enter the matchup in the midst of a five-game losing skid. Their last two games were one-possession affairs, a 97-95 defeat in Miami on Friday and a 130-128 setback against Sacramento before that.
Jabari Smith Jr., the No. 3 overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft, posted 22 points and eight rebounds against the Heat, while Jalen Green (No. 2 overall pick in 2021) leads Houston in scoring for the season at 21.8 points on just under 18 shots per game.
As of Sunday night, the injury report included Joel Embiid (questionable - left foot soreness) and Shake Milton (probable - left eye soreness) for Philadelphia. Kevin Porter Jr. of the Rockets is out with a left foot contusion.
This will be the second and final meeting between the two teams this season, with the Sixers seeking to avenge a 132-123 double overtime loss in Houston on Dec. 5. Green had 27 points for the home team despite an 0-for-7 shooting effort from 3-point range. Joel Embiid recorded a game-high 39 points, along with seven rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocked shots.
In their road win at the Nets on Saturday, the Sixers erased a double-digit deficit – 12 points late in the third quarter – for the second consecutive game.
The Sixers shot 29-for-30 (.967) from the free-throw line in Brooklyn, their second highest free-throw percentage of the season thus far. On Jan. 25 – also against the Nets – they went 35-for-36 (.972) from the line.
Trade deadline acquisition Jalen McDaniels played 16 minutes off the bench in his 76ers debut and contributed five points and four rebounds.
“He’s going to help us, he’s going to really help us,” 76ers Head Coach Doc Rivers said postgame. “His length, his rebounding. He’s going to be big for us. You can see it.”
With 0.9 seconds remaining, Brooklyn’s Spencer Dinwiddie made what would have been a game-tying 3-point shot from the midcourt logo, but the play was reviewed. The shot ultimately didn’t count, as the ball was still in Dinwiddie’s hand as the final buzzer sounded.
The Rockets, meanwhile, rank near or at the bottom of the NBA in various offensive categories this season, but their strong rebounding numbers stand out. They are first in both rebounding percentage (.530) and offensive rebounding percentage (.343), as well as third in second-chance points per game (16.8).
Monday is a 7 p.m. start in South Philadelphia.
Saturday’s Top Performances:
Quote to Note:
James Harden on the visit to Brooklyn as an opposing player:
“Coming back here, it’s a game. We’re trying to win the game. I don’t get caught up in homecomings or all of the outside distractions. Our focus was to come in here and win the game, and we did a good job of that.”
Follow Along Monday: