Game Preview | Last one out West

by Lauren Rosen

Seven days and three games on the road, now one more to go.

As the 76ers (5-2) face the Denver Nuggets (5-2) Friday, they’ll look to even their record on their trip before heading home to Philadelphia.

In the absence of Ben Simmons (shoulder), expect a next-man-up mentality from the 76ers, which have seen consistent contributions from across the roster thus far.

Raul Neto assumed a larger role Wednesday in Utah, stepping in to back Simmons up.

In 30 minutes of play, Neto contributed 11 points, three boards, four assists, and three steals against the Jazz. In six minutes against Portland the previous game, the point man tallied four points, two rebounds, 2 assists, and a team-high +13 (tied with James Ennis III).

“He’s got a motor,” Brett Brown said Friday at shootaround. “He showed that the work had been put in [Wednesday].”

Friday’s matchup brings an opportunity for two of the best big men in the league to face off head-to-head. Joel Embiid has averaged 24.3 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game to kick off his fourth NBA year.

Denver's All-Star, Nikola Jokic, has averaged 14.9 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 5.9 assists in his first seven games this season.

“He is as competitive as anybody I have coached,” Brown said of Embiid. “[Facing Jokic is] a day that he’s aware of.”

The Sixers and Nuggets split last season’s series between the teams, 1-1. They’ll meet for the second and final time in the regular season Dec. 10.

Opponent Outlook:

Point man Jamal Murray leads the Nuggets in scoring this season, averaging 18.9 points per game, shooting 45.2% from the field and 35.5% from long range. The Nuggets have won their last two, in Orlando Saturday and hosting Miami on Tuesday. Starting shooting guard Gary Harris missed the second half of the team’s matchup with the Heat (ankle sprain), but is listed as probable Friday. 

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