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Kings vs Sixers Preview: The City of Smotherly Love

The Kings attempt to recover from a bad loss in the Big Apple against one of the best defenses in the league in Philly!

The road trip rolls on and the Sacramento Kings are in Philly today to take on Joel Embiid, James Harden and a Sixers squad with championship aspirations. With De'Aaron Fox still in limbo dealing with a foot injury, the Kings are going to have to dig down and come up with something a bit more than the "Domantas Sabonis will save us" offense that they employed in New York. Shooting 25% on 40 attempts from deep won't cut it today. Will Monte McNair and his old boss finally stake the rights to Tyrese Maxey on an arm wrestling contest? Will we get to see Paul Reed vs. Neemias Queta action that we've all long deserved? Will Matisse Thybulle see more than 10 minutes of action?!

Let's talk Kings basketball!

When: Tuesday, December 13th, 4:00 PM PT
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
TV: NBC Sports California
Radio: Sactown Sports 1140

For Your Consideration

Adjust the Process: The Sixers are off to a semi-disappointing start to this season and are still sitting at two games above the break-even point and in 5th place in the West. Obviously injuries to guys like Embiid, Harden and Tyrese Maxey are out of their control and when they've all missed a third of the season or more so far, those wins just aren't going to come easy. When healthy, they're amazing. Right now, they'll just have to settle for being the fourth best defense in the league through 26 games while also somehow employing James Harden (him missing 11 games probably helps that rating a smidge). Fresh off of beat the Lakers and Hornets, the Sixers come into today's game holding opponents to the 3rd lowest scoring in the league and rocking the 4th best defensive rating. They're 4th in the league in steals, 19th in the league in blocks, and 24th in the NBA in player fouls. Teams that rely on three point shooting to beat their opponents should be forewarned: the Sixers give up the 9th least long ball attempts per game and hold teams to the lowest percentage from deep in the NBA, with opponents shooting 33.1% from three against them.

On the offensive side of things, the Sixers have truly struggled this year. Their big three have all gotten their numbers when they've been able to play - Embiid's averaging 33.4 a night with 4.8 assists and 9.8 rebounds to boot, Harden's getting 22.2 and 10.4 assists and Maxey's throwing in 22.9 points and over 4 assists to boot as well. Darryl Morey sold his soul and got a trio of absolute monsters on the offensive side of things, their health has just been a major issue to start. As a team, they're 15th in offensive rating but they're scoring in the bottom ten in the league right now, averaging 110.7 a contest. They run at the 4th slowest pace. They're in the bottom ten in three point attempts, but shoot the 4th best percentage at over 38% per game. Oddly enough, they're an absolutely garbage rebounding team - 29th in total rebounds. Some of that is the fact that they start 37 year old PJ Tucker at a forward spot but when you see that their 6'2 spot starter point guard De'Anthony Melton is 4th on the team in rebounds, that sixth sense tingling about something being wrong starts to crawl up my spine.

All this being laid out, the Sixers are far, far better than their numbers right now. As long as they have Joel Embiid healthy, they're going to have a good shot at winning an NBA game. James Harden back just further moves good fortune in their favor, even if it is a dialed back version of the MVP candidate we saw just a few years ago. Those two, plus a few willing role players, will keep the Sixers in most games, most nights.

Prediction

Joel Embiid gets put in the Sabon-Zone early and picks up a few fouls that haunt him the whole night. Off-Night and the Ultimate Green Light clash to a virtual standstill and it's Monk and Huerter that ultimately make the difference in a return to form for the two shooters. Yes, I'm going to keep predicting Huerter returns to form until he does DAMNIT.

Kings: 118, Sixers: 114

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Jman1949
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December 13, 2022 1:36 pm

The Sixers have been inconsistent—
Their injury problems persistent.
Superstars on his team
Always has been Doc’s scheme.
To win our “D” must be insistent!

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
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Nostradumbass 18
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December 13, 2022 2:10 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

Just out of curiosity Jman, does it take you long to come up with different rhymes every game, for each season? Keep up the good work. 🙂

Jman1949
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December 13, 2022 2:27 pm
Reply to  Klam

Hours and hours for each (not really)!

comment image&ct=g

Kosta
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December 13, 2022 3:31 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

Wouldn’t you rather use a mouse, though?

Jman1949
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December 13, 2022 3:43 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Mouse?!

comment image&ct=g

Hozr
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December 13, 2022 5:57 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Well, he doesn’t have 1000 typewriters so he can’t use monkeys.

PretendGhost
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December 13, 2022 2:46 pm
Reply to  Klam

Rhyming is easier than you might imagine, especially with all the resources available to help with it. The meter is the harder part in my opinion. You ever try writing any poetry Klam?

Jman1949
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December 13, 2022 2:54 pm
Reply to  PretendGhost

It’s really easy to rhyme
If you do it all the time!

NotMe
December 13, 2022 2:03 pm

Not sure if this is the best thread for this, but here is a tweet I just saw:

Assuming that the link worked: that the Sacramento bubble is on the far left means that the Kings have had the fewest games lost to injury or H&S protocols of any team so far this season, by a wide margin. That reflects treating all lost games equally — where a game lost by Fox counts the same as a game that Len is out. The fact that the Kings bubble is smaller than any of the 29 others means that they have also had the fewest lost games after adjusting for the value of the missing player (using VORP).

This doesn’t mean that their improvement is just injury luck. They were also the least injured team (value adjusted) in the entire league in 2021-22 — the fact that they are winning at such a higher clip this season with a similar injury advantage reflects real improvement on the court. But they are very vulnerable to falling back if this large advantage in player availability doesn’t continue.

PretendGhost
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December 13, 2022 2:42 pm
Reply to  NotMe

I think this is a big conversation in Kings land right now. Missing Fox is one thing, but missing Domas would be a massive blow to this team. As I like to say, Fox can raise the team’s ceiling, but Domas raises the floor by a wide margin. With how often he gets hit in the face and knocked around generally, I am concerned that one hit will be just the right angle to do some damage.

Having 11 legit NBA-level players is helpful, but the team is gonna need some more help, especially on the defensive end. Upgrading the backup center and wing roles will go a long way in that.

Kingsguru21
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December 13, 2022 2:46 pm
Reply to  PretendGhost

As I like to say, Fox can raise the team’s ceiling, but Domas raises the floor by a wide margin.

You are not alone. This is one reason why I believed the Kings were a 45 win team. Because Domas alone gives you about a 40 win floor.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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December 13, 2022 3:32 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Well, Sabonis did lead the Pacers to just 34 wins during the 2020-21 season and last year they won just 25 😜.

Just ribbing you, Nate! Sabonis truly is the engine to the this team. I personally think the Kings can win games without Fox. It’s not a lot without Fox, but they’d be dead in the water without Sabonis.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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December 13, 2022 3:40 pm
Reply to  NotMe

This is cool stuff. Thanks for sharing.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
December 13, 2022 2:44 pm

WooHoo!!

PretendGhost
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December 13, 2022 2:45 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Hell yeah, Kings have a fighting chance now

Kosta
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December 13, 2022 3:32 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Holy damn!

I thought he’d be out at least a week or week-and-a-half.

PretendGhost
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December 13, 2022 3:09 pm

No fan predictions today? :/

NorCalKingsFan
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December 13, 2022 3:14 pm
Reply to  PretendGhost

I predict that there will be more 76er’s fans than King’s fans at the game tonight.

I am doing this right?

YayAreaKangzFan
December 13, 2022 3:40 pm
Reply to  PretendGhost

I guess not. :/ I actually remembered to be online before an early game too!

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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December 13, 2022 3:29 pm

OT: I’ve seen Bey’s name pop off a few times today on rumors that he is available. Monte did try and trade for him once before, by offering Detroit Bagley in exchange. Bey is someone I’d definitely make a try for.

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