KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The 76ers have shown their defense is good with their core players in the game.
That was perhaps the biggest takeaway from their three scrimmages at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in preparation for the NBA restart.
The Sixers’ starters and top rotation players gave the Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Dallas Mavericks fits.
“I think the first three periods of each of our games, I like what I’m seeing with our defense,” coach Brett Brown said. “I think that trying to uncover who are going to be some of those wing players that come in and assume major type of roles when the regular season comes around, I feel like we learned a little bit more in that capacity.”
Now, the focus is on getting Joel Embiid (right calf tightness), Glenn Robinson III (left hip pointer) and Raul Neto (lower-back tightness) back on track. The team will open its eight-game seeding schedule at 7 p.m. Saturday against the Indiana Pacers at the VISA Athletic Center.
Brown said late Tuesday that he expects Embiid to play against the Pacers. Robinson and Neto are listed as day-to-day.
Embiid’s injury cost the Sixers game time to evaluate their new starting lineup, which features two-time All-Star Ben Simmons at point forward and Shake Milton at point guard.
“It would have been great to have Joel playing, but health is our number one goal,” Tobias Harris said. “To get him right and to get him ready when we open up. That’s on the horizon.”
But Harris is satisfied with where the team is.
Simmons proved that he’ll still make a major impact as a ball handler. Harris had two solid scoring outings, showing what he can do when involved in the offense. Al Horford, destined to be a solid sixth man once the playoffs begin Aug. 17, filled in nicely for Embiid at center.
Rookie reserve guard Matisse Thybulle led the team with eight steals (2.66 per game) in the three scrimmages. Three of his steals came Tuesday when the Mavs committed 12 turnovers and shot 29.3% (12-for-41) on three-pointers.