Seeding Slate Ends with Houston

by Lauren Rosen

With seven seeding games in the rearview, the 76ers (42-30) will meet the Houston Rockets (44-27) Friday night for a final run before the playoffs begin Monday.

The matchup offers a competitive chance to tune-up, refine, and prepare for the Sixers’ first round meeting with the Boston Celtics (48-24).

In the Sixers' most recent outing against the Toronto Raptors (52-19), the first unit enjoyed an auspicious start, then had a chance to cheer the reserves on from the bench down the stretch.

Tobias Harris says the Sixers' chemistry inside the bubble is at an all-time high, and it was on full display.

“It’s fun,” Al Horford said. “We’re in this environment, and we need to create our own energy at times.”

Friday’s matchup with Houston could offer a similar opportunity.

“It feels good when we have the guys who don’t play so much normally to be able to get out there and get some time, and show what they have," said Horford. "They really stepped it up, and it’s just fun watching them go.”

Looking ahead to facing his former team in the first round, Horford is ready to compete.

“We’ve already played [Boston] plenty of times this year. Now we can just go out there and compete, and it should be a fun series.”

The Sixers won the regular season series with Boston, 3-1.

Friday’s contest tips at 9:00 p.m. ET, and the Sixers’ playoff run begins Monday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Opponent Outlook:

The Rockets will be without Russell Westbrook (right quad strain). The team is 4-3 since entering the bubble, currently holding the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference.

James Harden posted a massive 45-point, 17-rebound double-double in Houston's most recent matchup with the Pacers. He has scored at least 23 points in each of his bubble appearances.

Houston tips off its first round playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder (44-27) on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

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