Sixers-Bobcats: 5 things you need to know

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Sixers-Bobcats: 5 things you need to know

The Sixers (7-12) will look to end their struggles on the road when they travel to face the Charlotte Bobcats (8-11).

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (CSN) at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Missing the young guns
The Sixers will be without one of their most potent weapons when they take the court on Friday night.

Michael Carter-Williams did not make the trip with the team and will miss the game because of a sore right knee. The rookie point guard suffered the injury during the Sixers' loss to the Detroit Pistons last Sunday.

Carter-Williams' absence will certainly create a void on the stat sheet. He is coming off his first career triple-double in Tuesday's 126-125 win over the Orlando Magic in double overtime. MCW is averaging 17.7 points, 7.3 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game so far this season.

The Sixers won't be the only one missing a young playmaker. The Bobcats won't have second-year forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who suffered a fractured left hand on Tuesday against the Dallas Mavericks and will miss four to six weeks.

Kidd-Gilchrist is averaging 9.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game this season while shooting 50 percent from the field.

2. Road to nowhere
Things started off beautifully for the Sixers on the road this season. They rallied from down double-digits to pull off a comeback win in Washington for their second victory of the season.

Since that point, things have been all downhill for the Sixers away from home. They've lost seven straight road games with four of those defeats coming by double digits.

Breaking that skid won't necessarily be easy against the Bobcats. They are 4-6 at home this year and sit just above the Sixers in the Eastern Conference standings.

3. Opposites attract
Friday night's matchup will feature a battle of two complete opposites once the teams take the court.

The Sixers play at the NBA's highest pace (102.5 possessions per 48 minutes) and are sixth in points (104.2 points per game). That up-tempo style has also cost them on the defense end, as they allow the most points in the league at 110.8 points a night.

The Bobcats are anything but explosive in their approach on the floor. They rank 27th in pace (94.6 possessions per 48 minutes), are dead last in points per game with (88.8) and have scored 100 points just once this season.

4. Injuries
Carter-Williams (knee) is out for Friday. He is officially listed as day to day.

Nerlens Noel (knee), Arnett Moultrie (ankle) and Jason Richardson (knee) are all out.

Kidd-Gilchrist (hand) and Brendan Haywood (foot) are out for the Bobcats.

5. This and that
• The Sixers' four overtime games are tied with Washington for the most in the NBA.

• The Bobcats have averaged 85 points per game in their last seven meetings against the Sixers.

• The Bobcats are last in the NBA in field-goal percentage (40.9) and three-point percentage (29.4).

Sixers-Bucks 5 things: Joel Embiid back to face the 'Greek Freak'

Sixers-Bucks 5 things: Joel Embiid back to face the 'Greek Freak'

Sixers at Bucks
3:30 p.m. - CSN/CSNPhilly.com/streaming live on the NBCSports App

The Sixers (12-26) look to get back in the win column when they face the Milwaukee Bucks (20-19) at the Bradley Center in a Martin Luther King Day matinee.

Let's take a closer look at Monday afternoon's matchup:

1. Back on the Embiid express
The Sixers have started to show flashes of coming together and finally turning the corner on their massive rebuild. However, they are nowhere near the point that they can remove the biggest piece of the puzzle and still expect to win games.

The Sixers found that out again on Saturday night, as they were pummeled during the second half of a 109-93 loss to the Washington Wizards with Joel Embiid sidelined for rest.

The team didn't want to use the rookie phenom's absence as an excuse, but it was clear his presence was missed.

“We didn’t have that extra oomph,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said after the loss. “Obviously, the omission of Joel Embiid clearly is impactful, but that’s the challenge. We just didn’t have it tonight.”

Embiid and his 19.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game will be back in the lineup against the Bucks.

2. Freak of nature
The Sixers won't be the only squad with a star in the making on the court Monday afternoon.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has shown plenty of potential since he was selected by the Bucks 15th overall in the 2013 draft (Anthony Bennett, who was recently released by the Brooklyn Nets, was taken No. 1 overall that year, for those of you keeping track at home). But the man known as "The Greek Freak" has taken his game to new heights this season.

Antetokounmpo is averaging 23.4 points on 53.5 percent shooting in addition to 8.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.8 steals per game this season - all career highs. He's also coming off a 33-point, eight-rebound and six-assist performance in the Bucks' 111-98 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.

With Antetokounmpo playing point guard full time now and the Bucks' starting five boasting players all above 6-foot-7, it's hard to determine how the Sixers will match up on defense. Whatever the plan is to slow down "The Greek Freak," it will have to be a total team effort.

3. Protect the paint
All of that size and athleticism for the Bucks is a big reason they attack the rim so much. Milwaukee is tied with Oklahoma City for the league lead in points in the paint with 50.6 per game.

The Sixers were dominated on the low block for 54 points by the Wizards on Saturday with Embiid out. For the season, they rank 14th in the league in points in the paint allowed at 42.3 a night.

One thing that might help the Sixers is their shot blocking. They swat 5.6 shots a game (sixth in the NBA), which could deter some of those romps to the rim by the Bucks.

4. Injuries
T.J. McConnell (right wrist), Ben Simmons (foot) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are out for the Sixers.

Khris Middleton (hamstring) is out for the Bucks.

5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost 12 of their last 14 games to the Bucks.

• Ersan Ilyasova spent the first seven seasons of his NBA career with the Bucks (see story on his return to Milwaukee). This will mark the fourth time he has faced his former team.

• Jabari Parker, selected No. 2 overall in the 2014 NBA draft right before Embiid, has emerged this season with 20.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.

Sixers' T.J. McConnell (sprained right wrist) out Monday vs. Bucks

Sixers' T.J. McConnell (sprained right wrist) out Monday vs. Bucks

The Sixers will get Joel Embiid back in the lineup when they meet the Bucks on Monday afternoon in Milwaukee, but they'll be without their starting point guard.

T.J. McConnell will miss Monday's game with a sprained right wrist suffered in Saturday night's loss to the Wizards in D.C., the Sixers announced Monday morning.

McConnell reportedly did not travel with the team to Milwaukee and is back home in Philadelphia.

The 24-year-old McConnell has been a presence this season for a Sixers team that desperately needed something from the point guard spot. In 38 games this season, McConnell has averaged 4.8 points, 5.8 points and 4.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists a night in an average of 22.3 minutes a game.

The highlight of McConnell's season, of course, came last week when he nailed the game-winning shot at the buzzer to give the Sixers a 98-97 victory over the Knicks.

Sergio Rodriguez is expected to start in McConnell's place Monday against the Bucks.