Philadelphia 76ers continue tough stretch against San Antonio on Wednesday


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Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers are in the fourth game of a 12-game stretch against teams currently in playoff position. After a blowout win over the Rockets, they are 30-17 with a 20-5 home record and seven wins over their last ten. They host the San Antonio Spurs, who are 27-21 on the season, but only 9-14 on the road.  The 76ers look to overtake the Pacers for third in the Eastern Conference.

The strengths of the 76ers are the weaknesses for the Spurs and vice versa. Philadelphia is fourth in offense and fourth in rebounding, while the Spurs area 17th and 22nd respectively in those categories. On the flip side, the Spurs take care of the call better than any team in the NBA and the 76ers are prone to the turnover, ranked 28th.  The Spurs are in the middle of the pack in points allowed, while the 76ers are 20th.

The 76ers are lead by MVP candidate Joel Embiid, who is averaging 27.1 points and 13.2 rebounds per game. He is second to only James Harden in 30-plus point games and leads the league in double-doubles.  Embiid has been playing with lower back issues, so take note of his status prior to the game. Jimmy Butler is second on the team in scoring at 19.6 er game, but missed the last game with a wrist sprain. Veteran JJ Redick is hitting 38 percent from long range and averaging 18.3, while Ben Simmons (16.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 8.1 assists) is always a triple-double threat.  Recently signed to a 10-day contract, veteran Corey Brewer was a spark (11 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals) versus Houston, while rookie Landry Shamet is making teams pay from long range, hitting 40 percent.

San Antonio is lead by the duo of DeMar DeRozan and LarMarcus Aldridge. They are averaging a combined 42.2 points and 14.7 rebounds per game.  They are the top three point shooting team in the league, hitting 40.4 percent from beyond the arc. That could cause problems for Philadelphia, who have had issues with perimeter defense this season. Rudy Gay and Bryn Forbes hit 42 percent from beyond the arc, while Patty Mills and Marco Belinelli are near 40 percent.

The Spurs dominated the first meeting at home, winning by 27 points. However, the 76ers are one of the best home teams in the league and appear to have found their form.  Note to see the status of Embiid and Butler. If one or both play, they are likely to win. However, if both are out of the lineup, look for the Spurs to take this one on the road.

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