After four straight matches through the West, the Philadelphia 76ers back home, awaiting another team from the opposite conference, the Houston Rockets. Philly lost three in a row during their journey, and is desperate to find some positive vibes. Joel Embiid is apparently ready to play again, and no doubt he, as well as the entire Philly crew, would be extremely pleased for being back to Wells Fargo Center. The Rockets are in a slump with 6 straight losses, and several pretty important players sidelined due to injuries.
Philadelphia 76ers (18-10, TBA) lost to Portland Trail Blazers, the Phoenix Suns, and the Utah Jazz. The latest one in Salt Lake City saw them suffering a 134-123 defeat, but without Joel Embiid, whose back stiffness prevented him from going against the NBA’s top crew.
Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris tried to cover up his absence, the first one with 42 points and the second with 36, but unfortunately for the 76ers that didn’t work out well. The Jazzers were excellent in the crucial moments, and they got this win due to superb defense in the third period once they allowed only 15 buckets.
We mentioned that Philly’s players expressed joy for coming back home. They love playing at WFC, and are 11-2 up until this point. As in the past few years, the 76ers are one of the best home teams in the entire NBA, and judging by the numbers posted so far, that should be the case this season as well.
Houston Rockets (11-16, TBA) are struggling, and from one of the playoff contenders fell down to the bottom of the West. But having in mind all the troubles this team had, and their situation regarding transfers, trades, injuries, etc, this is the reality for the franchise from the Toyota Center.
At the moment, their best player Christian Wood is out due to an ankle injury, and besides him, Victor Oladipo is also unavailable for the match in Pennsylvania. Eric Gordon’s situation is still unclear, and PJ Tucker might too skip Wednesday’s game.
So pretty much John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins are alone. While Wall has some productivity, the former All-NBA and All-Star center isn’t anywhere near his pedigree. Cousins averages 9.3 boards with 7.6 boards par match, playing just 19.6 minutes.
Head to Head Games
Rockets won the first match in Philadelphia during the regular part of the season, 118-108. The 76ers responded and blew away the rivals in the Orlando bubble, 134-96, delivering one of the biggest wins since the restart of the league.
With or without Embiid, the situation is clear here. Philadelphia is the absolute favorite, and Doc Rivers’ side should end this match without any problems. If Embiid plays, there won’t be anyone who might guard him, and the 76ers’ win would be between 15 and 20 points for sure. Without him, the game might be a bit more interesting, but not too much. Rockets have only Wall in the attack, which isn’t enough to take down Philly in their own arena. So don’t think too much, go with the hosts’ easy victory; 10+ points.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.