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).

NBA power rankings: Sixers can't escape the lower third

NBA power rankings: Sixers can't escape the lower third

With the NBA's glorified exhibition in the rearview mirror, we reenter reality of the remaining NBA season. The Sixers still are looking for suitors for Jahlil Okafor while questions swirl around about the health of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. 

Some claim they are tanking still, and if those people are talking about the recent NBA power rankings then they would be right. 

Games before the All-Star break
Last Monday and Wednesday the Sixers split their two games before the break, beating the Hornets and losing to the Celtics. 

Dario Saric continues to be the Sixers' most productive player in the absence of Embiid. In the short week, he averaged 19 points (a team leader in that category both games) and 11 rebounds. 

T.J. McConnell continues to control the floor at the point, dishing out seven assists against the Hornets and eight against the Celtics. 

An inability to finish has been the story for the Sixers without Embiid. The Sixers led by one at the half against the Hornets and were tied with the Celtics at the midway point. These are good signs, but these guys are far from being contenders in the east. The experts agree. 

What's next
Only two games this week for the 76ers: Friday at home against the Wizards (7 p.m./CSN) and on the road on Sunday to play the Knicks (7:30 p.m./CSN).

What the experts say
ESPN’s Marc Stein had some fun with his rankings this week using tweets and memes to describe a team’s current situation. The Sixers dropped from 20 to 23 in his rankings — not a significant drop but a drop nonetheless. 

He used this one in his evaluation of the Sixers:

NBA.com’s John Schuhmann bumped the Sixers up from 22 to 21 this week. He sees great improvement in Saric’s game stating: “Saric has already shown a lot of improvement and TLC, with his length on the perimeter, could prove to be a great fit next to the other core pieces if he can knock down shots.”

He added a positive thought on the Demarcus Cousins trade and how the Sixers still made out well even though they were not able to ship Okafor to the Pelicans. 

“The Sixers lost a potential trading partner with the DeMarcus Cousins trade to New Orleans, but still came out a winner in the deal, because they can swap first round picks with the Kings this year and own Sacramento's pick (with no protections) in 2019.”

Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes did not move the 76ers from the 21 spot on his list last week. He writes that he is intrigued with this processing team: “Sorry, but I'm never going to stop being delighted by the Sixers finding ways to win.”

He made his prediction for games won by the Sixers if they get Embiid back on the court: “It's hard to know what Simmons might bring, but Embiid's contributions are well understood. If he makes it back and looks healthy, Philly could easily win 30-plus games.”

Finally, Fox Sports’ Andrew Lynch dropped the Sixers from 27 to 28 – yikes! His outlook is very pessimistic as he looks exclusively at the injuries of Embiid and Simmons. He writes that a complete shutdown of Simmons would make sense as the season’s end gets closer by the day. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give and Go: Do Joel Embiid's injuries limit his ceiling?

Give and Go: Do Joel Embiid's injuries limit his ceiling?

With the team at the All-Star break, our resident basketball analysts will discuss some of the hottest topics involving the Sixers.

Running the Give and Go are CSNPhilly.com producer/reporters Matt Haughton and Paul Hudrick.

In this edition, we describe Joel Embiid's rookie season.

Haughton
There are so many different ways to go when describing Joel Embiid's long-awaited rookie season.

The numbers say dominant. Embiid leads all rookies in points (20.2), rebounds (7.8) and blocks (2.4) per game. He's also second in field goal percentage (46.6) among first-year players.

Of course, the injury situation — and handling of it by the team — has made Embiid's first season a bit frustrating. After waiting two seasons for the center to overcome foot injuries, you can understand the team's cautious approach. However, the almost random playing patterns at times and the near radio silence on his medical status has left a bad taste.

Still, overall I would say Embiid's rookie campaign has been refreshing for the franchise. Following three straight seasons of absolute abysmal basketball, the Sixers finally appear to have a real building block. 

Not only that, but Embiid also gives them a charismatic personality that is filling up the Wells Fargo Center again and being recognized on a national stage. You can't ask for much more after what the organization endured in recent years.

Hudrick
Describing Embiid's season depends on which perspective you're looking at it from. 

When he's been on the court, it's been unbelievable. He's a 22-year-old Cameroonian who's only been playing the game of basketball for a few years. He also didn't play for two years after two foot surgeries. Even with all that, he's been the most exciting basketball player this city has seen since Allen Iverson.

From a statistical standpoint, his numbers align with some of the greatest rookie big men of all time. While mentioning Embiid and Hakeem Olajuwon in the same breath may be premature, it's an indication of just how spectacular he has been. Their rookie seasons actually compare favorably.

Of course, the injuries are concerning. Will he ever be a full-time player? Embiid recently expressed his interest in playing back-to-back games. The organization won't give him the opportunity this year and I'm not sure how many opportunities they'll give him in the future. 

With that said, Embiid can still make an impact in 60-something games a season. When he's on the court, he can be one of the most dominant players in the league. When healthy, Embiid is the most exciting athlete in Philadelphia.