Things to Watch: Sixers Versus Rockets
The Sixers have their last taste of regular season action before the playoffs on Friday when they will face off against the Houston Rockets in their final seeding game. Starters will most likely see the same type of load they saw against the Raptors in preparation for the postseason. With that being said, here are some things to watch in the final seeding game.
Defending James Harden
The Rocket’s star might not see much time on the floor in this one, but he will still be good practice for the Sixers’ defenders. Most importantly rookie Matisse Thybulle and Josh Richardson, who will most likely be the main defenders on him.
Devin Booker was a good challenge ahead of the playoffs to see how the Sixers can defend against a massive scoring threat without Ben Simmons. James Harden will provide a similar challenge in this game. As the Sixers get ready to face off against the Celtics in the first round, defending a guy like Harden will be a good warmup for what’s ahead.
Who stays hot
With this being the last seeding game it also means it is the final audition for playoff minutes. Brett Brown does look like he plans to budge from a nine-man rotation, so Friday’s game is the last chance to leave a lasting impression.
The second half will most likely be played by the second unit only. Giving guys like Furkan Korkmaz, Mike Scott, and Alec Burks time to get more shots and see if the hot hands can stay hot heading into the next stage. The Sixers are going to need extra scoring in the playoffs in the absence of Simmons, so which shooters stay hot might dictate who sees the court against the Celtics.
Keep building momentum
Although the Sixers find themselves on a losing streak, they have arguably been building good momentum to end the seeding games. Without the services of their top stars in these contests, the Sixers have remained competitive. Keeping up that kind of play in this final game should be a point of emphasis.
Being able to stay competitive against good teams in the bubble without core players has been quite the surprise for the Sixers. These games showed how deep the Sixers are and some of the talent they have off the bench.
Having the confidence of the second unit grow is crucial for the Sixers. Getting ready for the postseason without Ben Simmons is going to be no easy task, but seeing the bench unit step their game up in his absence has been a good sign moving forward.