Before Saturday night's game against the 10-3 Miami Heat and Jimmy Butler, the Sixers (9-5) have a good chance Friday to extend their winning streak to three games.
Here the essentials for tonight's game against the 5-10 San Antonio Spurs:
Complete coverage of the Philadelphia 76ers and their rivals in the NBA from NBC Sports Philadelphia.
When: 8 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
And here are three storylines to watch:
Game 1 of Embiid's first back-to-back
Joel Embiid is expected to play both tonight and Saturday vs. Miami, his first back-to-back of the season. According to Brett Brown, keeping Embiid in a rhythm was a key factor in the decision.
"I think that has a lot to do with it," Brown said. "This whole thing is very, very scrutinized, discussed, studied with a handful of people. Really, I'm not saying led by Joel, but with a significant voice in all of it - an opinion. It had been discussed a while ago that this was going to be one of the first back-to-backs that we were going to look at. We hope that's true. We hope that's the wise thing to do. I'm looking forward to getting as much of Joel Embiid as I can."
After this one, the Sixers' next back-to-back set is a week from now, next Friday at the Knicks and Saturday vs. the Pacers.
Josh Richardson missed the Sixers' win Wednesday over the Knicks with right hip flexor tightness and is questionable tonight. Trey Burke (left knee and ankle soreness) is also questionable.
Without Richardson, Furkan Korkmaz started against New York and shot 1 for 5 in 16 minutes. Burke has gotten minutes over Raul Neto in the Sixers' past two games and gave the team a needed jolt in the second half Wednesday playing alongside Ben Simmons (see story).
‘I don't care about that number'
The Spurs enter Philadelphia with a seven-game losing streak, their worst since the 1996-97 season, when Gregg Popovich took over the job.
Brown, a former Popovich assistant, sees that streak as meaningless.
"I didn't even know that number. I don't care about that number. They're coached by Gregg Popovich. I know the large majority of their coaching staff that still exists, not as many of their players. I don't even pay attention to it. I really don't. My fondness and affection for Pop, and friendship with Pop, has extended two-plus decades. I just don't care what they've been doing. If they'd won 15 in a row, I'd give you the same answer. All I'm doing is looking down there and it's the San Antonio Spurs, and I know we better bring our A-game or we'll be in for a long night."
Led by DeRozan (21.7 points per game) and LaMarcus Aldridge (17.9 points), San Antonio has the fifth-best offensive rating in the league despite shooting and making the fewest threes in the NBA. However, the Spurs are No. 28 in defensive rating and have allowed 100 points or more in all but two games.
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