Tuesday, February 20, 2024
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NBA Preview: Houston Rockets (19-19) at Philadelphia Sixers (24-13)

With reigning Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid still out with a knee issue, Tobias Harris took center stage for the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday.

He scored a season-best 37 points, two shy of his career high, as the Sixers defeated the Sacramento Kings 112-93.

The Sixers, who are 3-7 without Embiid this season, will host the Houston Rockets on Monday afternoon and look to Harris for continued leadership and production.

The sellout home crowd recognized Harris’ contribution, shouting “”To-bi, To-bi, To-bi.”

Tyrese Maxey added 21 points, Nicolas Batum had 14 and Mo Bamba chipped in with 11 and four blocked shots to help compensate for Embiid’s absence.

The Sixers’ defense against Sacramento was as good as it has been all season.

The Rockets will look to rebound following a resounding 145-113 loss on the road against the Boston Celtics on Saturday.

Cam Whitmore led the Rockets with 22 points while Alperen Sengun added 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Dillon Brooks returned from an oblique injury that had sidelined him the previous nine games to score 12 points.

While the Rockets have dropped three of four, they’ll arrive in Philadelphia with a 19-19 record. Keep in mind that the Rockets won only 22 games all of last season.

Still, the Rockets were completely overwhelmed by the Celtics in every area.

Brooks picked up his eighth technical foul of the season and the frustration was evident by how easily the Celtics continued to score.

Rockets coach Ime Udoka returned to Boston to face his former team.

Jaylen Brown poured in 32 points and Jayson Tatum added 27. Trying to stop the two All-Stars was an extremely difficult task.

Udoka said that he was quite unhappy with the defensive pressure against them as the Celtics shot 53.7 percent from the field.

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