Last week was a solid batch of tests for the Philadelphia 76ers, having to take on Eastern Conference contenders Atlanta Hawks, and the Western Conference leaders Utah Jazz.
Despite being down an offensive cog in James Harden, the Sixers went 3-1 in their last week, with their victory against the Jazz coming in large part due to a master class from Joel Embiid.
Embiid put the team on his back as he went on to score a career-high 59 points, after shooting 19-28 from the field.
Since coming back from his non-COVID-related illness, Embiid has been averaging 40 points per game along with 11 rebounds and five assists, so to say that The Process is back to his old ways is an understatement.
This is the type of production that Doc Rivers is going to need going into teams with big defensive pressure such as the Milwaukee Bucks and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Milwaukee Bucks: November 18 @ 7:30 p.m. EST
The last time the two sides met was on the second night of the season for the Sixers in a match that was fairly level, having ended the game in the Bucks’ favor with two points being the difference.
James Harden led the Sixers in scoring that night with 31 points on 13-24 shooting, with Embiid still going through the motions with 15 points.
Since that game, Milwaukee has been on a tear, entering the match with an 11-3 record, which sees them trailing the Boston Celtics by half a game in the Eastern Conference standings.
Mike Budenhozer will have to traverse some injury issues for Friday’s match, as Pat Connaughton, Khris Middleton, and Wesley Matthews are all listed as ineligible for the match.
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Doc Rivers will only have to go into the match without James Harden and Furkan Korkmaz, with Tobias Harris being listed as questionable for the clash.
Minnesota Timberwolves: November 19 @ 7:30 p.m. EST
The start of the season for the Timberwolves hasn’t gone exactly to plan after the Western Conference side picked up former Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert in the offseason.
Granted, going into Saturday’s match in South Philadelphia, the Timberwolves are on a two-game win streak, having taken down the in-form Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic.
To no one’s surprise, Karl Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards sit at the top of their team’s scoring chart, tied with 21.9 points per game, with the next pair of players being Gobert and D’Angelo Russell, who sit tied with 14.2 points per game.
Going into Saturday’s match, Chris Finch won’t have to assess or plan around any injuries.
Sixer to Watch: Joel Embiid
After heating up last week, averaging 40 points per game in his last five games, The Process finds himself as the Sixer to watch due to his importance against his opposition this week. Embiid will have to play up against Giannis Antetokounmpo on Friday while having to switch between Towns and Gobert on Saturday, all are players who Embiid loves to play into. Against both sides, Embiid averages a minimum of 27 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists per game, so to say that he likes to show up to these matches is an understatement.
Declan Harris contributes to All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @DecIanH.
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