Rematch with New Orleans
The 76ers (45-21) are four wins away from securing the Eastern Conference regular season title, with six games remaining to accomplish the feat.
Their next opportunity to inch closer comes Friday, hosting New Orleans (30-36), as the team will seek a season-high seventh straight victory.
The team’s existing six consecutive victories have coincided with Ben Simmons’ return to the lineup (non-COVID illness), with the first three wins coming at home and the second three on the road.
Joel Embiid - who notched a 34-point, 12-rebound double-double in the team’s 135-115 win over Houston on Wednesday - says Simmons’ impact continues to transcend the stat sheet.
“He makes the game easier for everybody,” Embiid said.
Rivers commended Simmons’ work ethic postgame:
“[Ben] works on everything, he really does. We’re working on right, left hand hooks, fadeaways... I just want him to keep playing.”
Currently sitting 2.5 games ahead of the no. 2 Brooklyn Nets (43-24) in the Eastern Conference, the Sixers also boast a conference-best 25-7 home record, and a conference-best 20-14 road record this season.
As of Thursday evening, all five Sixer starters remain available for Friday’s matchup. The team’s starting unit is 25-4 when all five starters play.
The Sixers will play four of their remaining six regular season games at home.
Friday’s matchup tips at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Back home in South Philadelphia, the Sixers are facing another back-to-back, hosting New Orleans Friday and Detroit Saturday.
New Orleans won its first meeting with the Sixers this season on Apr. 9, 101-94, behind Zion Williamson’s 37 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists.
Williamson is the Pelicans’ scoring leader, averaging 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game in his sophomore season.
As of Thursday evening, the Pelicans (30-36) hold the no. 11 spot in the Western Conference, going 5-5 in their last 10. In their most recent outing, the Pelicans topped Golden State, 108-103, Tuesday.
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