The Sixers look to extend their undefeated start to the regular season at Wells Fargo Center to nine games tonight with the Pelicans (10-7) in town.
Despite standing at just seventh in the Western Conference, the Pelicans are just two games out of first place, behind the first-place Trail Blazers (12-5).
The Pelicans also come into tonight's game averaging the second-most points per game and assists in the league to couple with their 48.6 field-goal percentage.
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Markelle Fultz is out as he awaits a consultation with a shoulder specialist, scheduled for this upcoming Monday. Below are three storylines to watch tonight.
Anthony Davis vs. Joel Embiid
There are only two players in the NBA this season averaging 27.5 points and 12.5 rebounds, and they're Joel Embiid and Anthony Davis. The comparisons are endless.
Embiid is first among centers in points per game (27.9) and Davis is right behind him (27.6). Davis is second in assists per game and Embiid is two spots behind him. Davis is tied for fourth in second-chance points and third in points in the paint and Embiid is eighth.
Tonight is going to be a battle of the centers, with these two taking center stage, and I can't wait to see how Embiid responds to the challenge.
Davis said at shootaround this morning that containing Embiid is all about communicating and helping each other on defense.
Davis to hit 10,000
As if he needed any more, Davis may have extra motivation heading into tonight's game. Davis is just six points shy of joining the 10,000 career points club, becoming the eighth youngest to reach that milestone. I'd expect Davis to get that milestone out of the way, so I expect him to come out of the gates swinging.
Jrue Holiday vs. Ben Simmons
Embiid vs. Davis isn't the only matchup we've got our eye on tonight.
Holiday is one of the top two-way players in the game and second only to Kyle Lowry in assists this season. Simmons is averaging 7.8 assists, good for fifth in the Association, and has certainly shown flashes of his elite defensive potential.
Brett Brown's challenge to Simmons this year is to feature on an All-Defensive Team. While Jimmy Butler will likely see most of his minutes in front of Holiday, which is going to be a fun matchup in itself, I'm curious to see if Simmons kicks his defense into another gear when one of the top two-way players in the NBA is also out on the floor.
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