Team Focuses on Moving Momentum Forward Before Hitting Road

by Lauren Rosen

Scene Setter:

The 76ers (43-25) will host the Sacramento Kings (33-34) Friday in South Philadelphia, hoping to get even in the rematch of the two teams.

The Kings took the first meeting between the clubs Feb. 2 in Sacramento, 115-108, behind a 34 point, seven 3-pointer performance from Buddy Hield.

While the Kings are on a two-game skid, the Sixers enter Friday’s matchup having won two in a row at home, first against the Indiana Pacers Sunday and then against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday.

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons recorded two hefty double-doubles Tuesday – Embiid finishing with 19 rebounds and 17 points, including the team’s final six points down the stretch, while Simmons scored 26 points and grabbed 10 boards.

As the duo continues to further their partnership, Simmons has collected eight double-doubles in the last nine games. He has also grown his success  at the free throw line, converting 78.1 percent of his attempts in March.

“Communication is key for us,” Tobias Harris said of the Sixers. “When we get out there and have fun, and we’re playing with that sense of joy, and that dominance to impose our will on opponents, that’s when we’re at our best.”

Harris has scored in double figures in each of his first 14 games in a Sixers’ jersey. The team is 9-5 since Harris’ arrival, despite Embiid’s eight-game absence.

“Let’s keep the spirit, let’s grow the structure, let’s understand rotations,” Brett Brown said of the team’s focus for its remaining 14 regular season games.

The squad will play nine of those games on the road, but will welcome the challenge.

“We want to be peaking...to make us at our best once we get into the playoffs,” Harris said. “We’ve got to continue to keep grinding and keep finding each other.”

Opponent Outlook:

Fighting for a spot in the playoffs, the West’s ninth-seed Kings dropped two close games this week, Monday at the Washington Wizards, 121-115, and Thursday at the Boston Celtics, 126-120. Hield (21.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg) has made monumental strides this season – he averaged 13.5 points per game last season. The former Oklahoma Sooner scored 34 points Thursday against the C’s.

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