Rockets vs. 76ers preview: The Sixers are looking for revenge
By Tevin Williams
The Houston Rockets will attempt to get back on track against the up and coming Philadelphia 76ers.
The Houston Rockets (5-2) will meet the Philadelphia 76ers (2-4) for the second time this season. The first matchup came down to the wire, with Eric Gordon nailing a game-winning corner 3 as time expired. Gordon led the Rockets with a game-high 29 points and James Harden chipped in 27 points and 13 assists in the win.
Now, the Sixers will look to steal a win in Houston, as The Process is finally starting to pay off in Philly. Their young stars, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, appear to be stars in the making. Through the first six games, Simmons is putting up a ridiculous average of 17.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 1.7 steals per game. Simmons, who is 6’10” tall, has the size of a power forward with the ball handling skills and agility of a guard. He’s probably the front-runner for Rookie of the Year in this short season, and the only thing standing in the way between his current place and absolute superstardom is a consistent jump shot.
Joel Embiid is also excelling in this season. The Cameroon native missed his entire rookie year and he sat out for all but 31 games last season. Embiid is still on a minutes restriction, currently averaging just 27.6 per game, but that hasn’t stopped him from putting up big numbers. The 7-footer is averaging 20.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and a block per game. Embiid can score off of spot up 3-pointers, in the mid range, in the post, and he can put the ball on the floor and drive to the hoop, too. If he can stay healthy, Embiid will become one of the best centers of his generation. He’s that talented.
In order for the Houston Rockets to defeat the visiting 76ers, they’ll need to contain Ben Simmons. Simmons is the point guard for this team, and he makes everything go. Houston needs to do their best to keep Simmons on the perimeter and out of the paint. Simmons is able to get the rest of his teammates involved by penetrating and breaking down the defense, and then scoring or kicking it out for an open 3-pointer.
Next: Houston Rockets: Eric Gordon looks even better this season
As for injuries, Joel Embiid is expected to suit up despite a hand injury and J.J. Redick is considered questionable due to lower back tightness. Markelle Fultz is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury, and the Sixers will re-evaluate him in three weeks. For Houston, Eric Gordon was not listed on the injury report, despite missing Saturday night’s contest with a stomach virus. And of course, Chris Paul is still out indefinitely.
Expect the Sixers to come out with a lot of energy tonight. Gordon’s game-winning shot was a back breaker last week, and Philly is looking for revenge.