Okafor, Canaan questionable against Spurs
Jahlil Okafor and Isaiah Canaan both missed 76ers practice on Sunday at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Both players are questionable for Monday's game against the San Antonio Spurs at Wells Fargo Center.
Okafor has an upper respiratory infection. Canaan sprained his right ankle while warming up for Saturday's game against the Nuggets. He played in the 108-105 loss.
If unable to go, Monday will mark the third straight game that Okafor will miss. The rookie third overall pick was suspended for the past two games after a video surfaced Wednesday of him getting into a second fight with a heckler on a Boston street in the early hours of Nov. 26.
Okafor averages a team-leading 17.2 points and is tied with Nerlens Noel for the team lead in rebounds at 8.1.
Meanwhile, Canaan, a combo-guard, is the team's third-leading scorer at 11.7 per game.
Wroten to the rescue?
The Sixers (1-20) are hoping Tony Wroten can help solve their late-game blues.
The point guard had four points and five turnovers in 13 minutes Saturday. It was his first game back after being sidelined since January with a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The Sixers have blown fourth-quarter leads in six of their last seven losses.
"You see at the end of games when people can't create their own shot and get to the rim by themselves, he can," coach Brett Brown said. "So although you look at limited minutes with five turnovers, you just get glimpses of what he was and what he can do. He's unique to our group."
On a minutes restriction, Wroten said he's scheduled to play 15 to 16 minutes against the Spurs (17-4).
One day after saying his team needs to get tougher down the stretch, Brown gave more specifics about why the Sixers struggle late in games.
"The league knows that [Robert] Covington and Isaiah Canaan are our best perimeter scorers," he said. "They put their best starting defenders on them and they bend us over. The league knows that T.J. [McConnell] is struggling, it's not his strength right now, so they go under by 11 feet on every single pick and roll and crowd the paint."
He added that teams front and double-team Okafor in the post.
"They get it out of his hands," Brown said. "Sometimes when you wrestle with it too much, the clock evaporates and you get into late clock a lot with two guys with their best defensive players on their way."
The Sixers have a three-play package for late-game situations. Wroten's ability to get to the rim will give them more options.
Kendall Marshall could make his 76ers debut on Thursday against Brooklyn at the Barclays Center.
The point guard, who signed as a free agent with the Sixers on Sept. 8, averaged 4.2 points and 3.1 assists in 28 games last season in Milwaukee. But he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in January, and has been sidelined since then.
The Sixers had their annual 76ers Family Day on Sunday afternoon at the Palestra.
"We learned over my life that stuff like this matter," said Brett Brown, a former longtime assistant with the Spurs. "You get kids together, families together and wives together. And you know, it just happens to come a Christmas time."
Follow and contact Inquirer 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers and on Instagram at PompeyOnSixers