KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Happy Monday, peeps.
Let’s make this a great day and the start of a solid week. One has to believe that’s what the 76ers are hoping as they prepare to face the San Antonio Spurs tonight in their second seeding game here at the NBA restart after the season was shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
This will mark the second game in as many nights and third in four days for the Spurs (29-36). So the Sixers (39-27) should have an advantage from a rest standpoint.
They’re also healthier than the Spurs. Seven-time All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge is out for the season after undergoing right shoulder surgery in April. Trey Lyles is sidelined with appendicitis, while former Sixers guard Marco Belinelli (sprained left foot) and guard Bryan Forbes (right quadriceps tightness) missed Sunday’s 108-106 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Sixers reserve Mike Scott (right knee soreness) will miss his second consecutive game, while reserve wing Glenn Robinson III (left hip pointer) is doubtful.
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What about Josh Richardson?
The Sixers shooting guard was basically an offensive bystander in Saturday’s 127-121 loss to the Indiana Pacers in the seeding-game opener for both teams at the VISA Athletic Center. He finished with four points on 2-for-4 shooting in 29 minutes, 53 seconds.
Meanwhile, Joel Embiid (41 points, 21 rebounds), Tobias Harris (30 points) and Ben Simmons (19 points, 13 rebounds) combined for 66 of the team’s 93 shots.
“You look at Tobias Harris, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, they took and they should have the lion’s share of the shots,” coach Brett Brown said Sunday. “So it’s always going to be an acceptance of a role, an admittance that they are our mismatches.
“It was quite clear where our bread was buttered, and we went to it.”
Brown said he’ll have to help Richardson get involved offensively from time to time. But he also challenges him to contribute by taking what the game gives him.
“I think he can be even more aggressive just in organic play,” the coach said.
The Sixers didn’t call a single play for Richardson when he scored 17 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to lift them to a 110-103 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 11 at the Wells Fargo Center.
“That is a mindset more than anything,” Brown said. “So that’s my message. That’s my challenge. That’s my admittance to myself to how do you make sure you keep him appreciated, because he’s good people. He’s a great teammate, and we need his heart.”
Markelle Fultz showed range Sunday.
The Orlando Magic point guard drained a three-quarter-court buzzer-beater at the end of the first quarter against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday. That enabled the Sixers’ 2017 first overall draft pick to finish the quarter with 9 points on 4-for-4 shooting. Fultz finished with 14 points on 6-for-9 shooting in the 132-116 victory. He made both of his three-point attempts.
Fultz’s three-point heave from 52 feet to beat the buzzer enabled the Magic to tie a franchise record for the most points in the first quarter at 44. Orlando tied a season high with 18 three-pointers and is averaging 130 points through its first two seeding games of the NBA restart.
Today: San Antonio Spurs vs. Sixers at Visa Athletic Center, 8 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia
Wednesday: Sixers vs. Washington Wizards at The Arena, 4 p.m., NBA TV, NBC Sports Philadelphia
Friday: Orlando Magic vs. Sixers at HP Fieldhouse, 6:30 p.m., TNT, NBC Sports Philadelphia
Sunday: Sixers vs. Portland Trail Blazers at VISA Athletic Center, 6:30 p.m., NBA TV, NBC Sports Philadelphia
Aug. 11: Phoenix Suns vs. Sixers at VISA Athletic Center, 4:30 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia
All events at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Send questions by email or on Twitter (@PompeyOnSixers)
Question: I haven’t seen anything about when the 2020-21 season will start, considering when this season will end (assuming no shutdown). What have you heard? — @SteveDiGiulio on Twitter