Philadelphia 76ers vs. Sacramento Kings Pick & Prediction JANUARY 12th 2024

The Philadelphia 76ers clearly are not the same team without Joel Embiid.

The Sixers fell to the Atlanta Hawks 139-132 in overtime Wednesday and dropped to 2-7 without the reigning Most Valuable Player this season. They are 21-6 with him.

As he continues to deal with left knee swelling, Embiid was ruled out for a third straight game when the Sixers host the Sacramento Kings on Friday.

“We’re still kind of going day to day,” Sixers coach Nick Nurse said of Embiid. “It’s not like it’s — he was, we thought, close to making this trip and playing (against the Hawks) — so I would assume a few more days should get us even closer.”

Tyrese Maxey had a stellar all-around performance before fouling out with 35 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and four steals.

Tobias Harris added 32 points and 10 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a third consecutive loss.

“Tonight, I feel like guys fought,” Maxey said. “From one through however many guys we have here, we fought on defense. We fought on offense. We was extremely aggressive. Like I said, Mo Bamba was huge tonight. At the beginning of overtime, I just remember him blocking like two or three shots and changing two shots.”

Sixers players realize there is nothing they can do about Embiid’s latest injury for now.

“So I think we gotta go in there and keep being ourselves and keep being aggressive,” Maxey said. “Tobias was really good tonight. So we’ll try to get us a dub on Friday.”

Following a 33-point loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, the Kings responded with a 21-point win over the Detroit Pistons and a 123-98 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday.

Keegan Murray scored 25 points and Domantas Sabonis had 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Malik Monk added 20 points and De’Aaron Fox had 19 in the balanced effort.

It was Sabonis’ league-leading 33rd double-double.

“We’re a better team when we share the ball,” Kings forward Trey Lyles said. “When we share the ball and hit the open guys, Domantas and De’Aaron and Keegan and Malik are going to make shots.”

Kings coach Mike Brown said that he was particularly impressed with Monk’s performance.

“We had a lot of guys step up. Malik continues to be big for us off the bench,” Brown said. “You can go to him to score. You can go to him to facilitate. Malik’s continuing to lay his stake for Sixth Man of the Year with two back-to-back 20-point games.”

The relatively easy win over Charlotte allowed Brown to rest some of the starters.

“It was great to give those guys a little bit of rest,” Brown said. “You always want to take advantage of those situations when you can and we were able to. But also, it gives a guy like Colby (Jones) some extended minutes and get some other guys in the game too to give them some reps and give them some conditioning.”

Guard Kevin Huerter left the game after only 41 seconds because of a left ankle sprain and he didn’t return. It looked as if Huerter stepped on Murray’s foot after the opening tip.

The Kings listed Huerter as questionable for the Philadelphia game.

–Field Level Media

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