Game info: 7:30 ET at the Wells Fargo Center, airing on TCN
The 76ers welcome the Kings on Friday night and will attempt to win consecutive games for the first time since November 5th. The Sixers are coming off a 92-84 win over the Wizards Wednesday night, a game that they would not have won without their center duo of Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen. Hawes in particular has played well of late since Doug Collins moved him back into the starting lineup in favor of Allen. Against Washington, the tandem combined for 26 points and 17 rebounds while Hawes also dished out 4 assists and blocked 4 shots and Allen shot 7-10 from the floor. All-star Jrue Holiday struggled shooting against John Wall and the Wizards but finished with a game-high 21 points and 6 assists.
The Kings meanwhile have lost 5 of their last 6 games with the lone win coming on an Isaiah Thomas floater with 2.1 seconds remaining to beat Washington earlier in the week. Thomas, one of the shortest players in the NBA, is a fierce competitor who has become the heart and sole of the Kings. Despite his stature (listed at 5’9, 185), Thomas plays extremely hard and could be a tough cover for Jrue Holiday because of his quickness and ability to create his own shot. Another matchup to keep an eye on is DeMarcus Cousins against the Sixers bigs who have struggled defending the paint this season. Cousins is the best player on the Kings and one of the most skilled big men on the planet but he has been his own worst enemy since joining the Kings in 2010. Hawes, the former King, is not nearly strong enough to contain Cousins on the block and Allen isn’t quick enough to defend him on the perimeter. I expect Kwame Brown to play some to try and bother the Kings’ big man.
Despite playing in Philadelphia just once a year, three Kings’ starters are quite familiar with the Wells Fargo Center. Tyreke Evans, Jason Thompson and John Salmons all called Philly home growing up and the trio should have plenty of supporters in the stands tonight. Evans missed some time this season but appears to be healthy and playing at a high level. He should have the biggest impact on the game of the three while the Jason Thompson / Thad Young matchup should be a fun one throughout.
The Kings are one of the worst teams in the NBA and if the Sixers hope to gain some momentum heading into the all-star break, winning tonight is an absolute must.
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