Philadelphia 76ers game previews between December 12 and December 18, including games against: Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors.
Only three games this week for the Sixers, and all of them at home! One against potentially the hottest team in basketball, one against potentially the coldest team in basketball and the other against the Los Angeles Lakers. This week could turn out any number of ways.
Wednesday, 14 December 2016 at 07:00 PM ET Home
The Sixers have been playing well so far in December by their standards (one point loss against Boston, five point loss against the Grizzlies and 11 point win against the Pelicans), but they stand no chance against the rolling Raptors. Kyle Lowry has been playing like a superstar this month, averaging 24.8 points per game on 56.7 percent from the field and 57.9 percent from beyond the arc. With Lowry playing so well, the Raptors have played at an all-time great level. 4-1 so far in December (with their only loss against the Cavaliers), their offensive rating is currently sitting at 120.2 this month. On the season, their offensive rating sits at 116.4, which beats the previous record of 115.6 (set by the Showtime Lakers in 1986) but is still behind the current Golden State Warriors offensive rating of 117.
This means that the Sixers would have no chance of winning this game, even with Joel Embiid. At the moment, however, whether Embiid will play or not is unknown as he has inflammation in his right elbow. Therefore, the Sixers have double the chance of NOT winning this game. But maybe they can pull out a miracle.
Los Angeles Lakers
Friday, 16 December 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Home
After starting out the season by surprising everyone surrounding the league, the Lakers have since regressed to the mean. After their shocking 10-10 start through the first 20 games, they have lost their last six games in a row, as well as being 2-8 in their last 10. Now this can be attributed to a number of things —? losing Nick Young for an extended period of time, having D'Angelo Russell sit out for an extended period of time and bad play from key guys like Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and Brandon Ingram —? but Lou Williams has been balling out of his mind, and you would think that would at least contribute to a couple of wins. Averaging 32 points, four rebounds and three assists per game on 51-45-92 shooting splits, the Lakers play around Williams has been beyond disappointing. At least the games the team has been losing have been close (six points or less has decided five of their last seven games, while the other two were over 30 point losses). Overall, this could be bad news for the Sixers yet again. While the Sixers have been playing decently lately, they still will not have anyone to guard Williams. When you factor in the return of Russell for the Lakers and the possibility of Embiid being out, the Lakers might be able to end their losing streak Friday night.
Sunday, 18 December 2016 at 06:00 PM ET Home
The Brooklyn Nets are 2-10 through their last 12 games, averaging an awful 114.7 team defensive rating (the worst in the league since mid-November), as well as a despicable 99.8 team offensive rating (bad enough for fifth worst in the league over this stretch). However, after missing nearly 20 games, Jeremy Lin is returning for the Nets this week, and he is expected to make a huge impact. Except the Nets did not actually play that much better previously when Lin was still active. When Lin played, their defensive rating was second-worst in the NBA at 108.9 (six whole points better than their defensive rating over the last 12 games), and their offensive rating only moved up from fifth worst in the league to sixth worse in the league (a still terrible 100.6 offensive rating). With Lin only just coming back after missing over a month, Brook Lopez playing terrible basketball throughout the month of December (18 points per game on 36.8 percent from the field) and nobody else to make a real impact offensively or defensively, the Sixers could be looking at yet another victory here. At this rate, they'll have to forget about tanking and start making a playoff push with Ben Simmons' return on the horizon.