SACRAMENTO — The Sacramento Kings are starting to put things together, winning three straight and six of seven games since the NBA All-Star break. They’re 3 ½ games out of the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot with 21 games remaining.
So the Kings (27-34) should be up for Thursday night’s game against the 76ers at the Golden 1 Center. They know a victory over the depleted Sixers could help them gain ground on the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies, who are 31-31.
Meanwhile, the Sixers (37-25) are still without All-Stars Ben Simmons (lower-back pinched nerve) and Joel Embiid (left-shoulder sprain) and fellow starter Josh Richardson (concussion protocol). They also will take a nine-game road losing streak into the contest. And they’ve lost their last three meetings in Sacramento.
So this would be a big road win for a Sixers squad in desperate need of one. Philly is in a disappointing sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 20 games left.
The Sixers will have to contain Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox, one of the league’s quickest players. The third-year veteran had 31 points, 3 rebounds and 3 steals Tuesday in a 133-126 victory over the Washington Wizards.
12 Tobias Harris SF 6-9 19.2 ppg. 6.7 rpg.
1 Mike Scott PF 6-7 5.5 ppg. 3.4 rpg.
42 Al Horford C 6-9 11.6 ppg., 6.7 rpg.
22 Matisse Thybulle SG 6-5 4.6 ppg. 1.4 apg.
18 Shake Milton PG 6-5 8.9 ppg. 2.1 apg.
Coach: Brett Brown (seventh season, 215-339)
Injuries: Ben Simmons (lower back pinched nerve), Joel Embiid (left shoulder sprain) and Josh Richardson (concussion) are out.
40 Harrison Barnes SF 6-8 14.7 ppg. 4.8 rpg.
88 Nemanja Bjelica PF 6-10 11.9 ppg. 6.5 rpg.
20 Harry Giles III C 6-10 7.1 ppg. 4.2 rpg.
8 Bogdan Bodanovic G 6-6 14.4 ppg. 3.1 rpg.
5 De’Aaron Fox G 6-3 20.4 ppg. 6.7 apg.
Coach: Luke Walton (1st season, 27-34; overall, 125-182)
Sixers lead, 165-128.
Joel Embiid finished with 33 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Sixers to a 97-91 victory on Nov. 27.
Saturday: Sixers at Golden State Warriors, 8:30 p.m., ABC
Wednesday: Detroit Pistons at Sixers, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia
March 14: Indiana Pacers at Sixers, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia
March 16: Washington Wizards at Sixers, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia