1. vs. Los Angeles Clippers, Feb. 11
The Clippers are the hottest ticket in the NBA. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are a formidable duo, while last season’s team — which won 48 games and stole two from Golden State in the postseason — remains largely in tact around them.
Few teams can match L.A.’s star power and depth. The Clippers have the chance, barring injury, to be special. It’s not unfeasible to image a Clippers-Sixers championship once June rolls around. Philadelphia’s first taste of the Clippers is at home on Feb. 11.
The matchup also provides an opportunity for the Sixers to exact revenge on Kawhi, who is directly responsible for Philadelphia’s heartbreaking Game 7 defeat. Like, at least swish the shot. The four-bouncer was cruel and unusual punishment.
Ben Simmons will get another chance to go to war on defense. Josh Richardson will have the unenviable task of chasing Paul George around the floor. It’s also a good matchup for Joel Embiid, as L.A. lacks sturdy interior defenders.
The Lakers have a compelling argument to make the top five, but one L.A. team had to miss the cut. The Clippers feel more fresh and new, even if the LeBron James–Anthony Davis pairing qualifies as the best duo pound-for-pound duo in basketball.
The Clippers also have Kurt, the Sixers’ former social media director. He’s great.