A couple of injury updates highlighted a quiet day at the Sixers’ Camden training facility.
Dario Saric suffered a left eye laceration and right eye poke during Wednesday’s practice.
“He got whacked in the eye,” head coach Brett Brown told reporters. “His left eye, I think he had three stitches. I think after that we’ll be okay.”
Brown isn’t sure if he’ll have Saric for tomorrow night against the Lakers.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I really don’t know.”
Same story for T.J. McConnell, who is listed as questionable with a sprained AC joint. He participated in limited activities today.
“He didn’t do too much,” said Brown. “He shot on the other court. He ran around. We really missed him the other night. We really missed him. We all walk away with (the takeaway of) Devin Booker (having a big game) and (missing T.J.) and that’s all true, but as I look at the tape, Tyler Ulis was hard to guard. It’s one of the dynamics of the starting group we have. It’s a challenge, as I said to everybody, as to who guards point guards. Who guards point guards? There’s not a clear answer there. The other night, without T.J., it would have helped with him being on the floor. And you look at Tyson Chandler and what he did the other night. Those two (Chandler and Ulis) stood out to me. I feel (T.J.’s status) is still uncertain. But I do realize, especially when you don’t have somebody, what they mean to the fabric of the team and the defensive flexibility we have.”
Booker went for 46 points Monday night as the Sixers fell 115-101 in a poor home performance. Ulis had 12 points and 12 assists while Chandler added 12 rebounds.
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As for Markelle Fultz, he’s back with the team after returning from Kentucky. His activity was minimal Wednesday and there is no medical update on his “right shoulder soreness/scapular muscle imbalance.”
It is what it is.
Lakers, part 2
Joel Embiid went for a career-high in Los Angles a few weeks back, dropping 46 points on the Lakers and adding 15 rebounds, 7 assists, and 7 blocks.
Now LA comes to Philadelphia as losers of five straight and seven of nine.
Embiid was asked about the first meeting between the teams, a 115-109 Sixer win.
“It was a weird game,” he said. “It was a pretty close game even though I scored the ball like I did. So I guess we’ve got to do a better job defensively. And they got too many offensive rebounds that game, so we’ve got to do a better job of boxing out and limit the turnovers.”
Los Angeles had 22 offensive boards in that game and the Sixers turned it over 16 times. They shot just 21% from three-point range but rode Embiid’s low-post dominance to the road win.
This time around, the Lakers will be exploring a different way to defend him, maybe with more double teams.
“Last time I thought they kind of double teamed me, too, either coming from the baseline or the top,” Embiid explained. “But I expect them to go a bit harder than that.”
“You’d be really shocked if they do what they did again,” Brown added. “We’re not game planning for that at all. I expect you’re gonna see maybe some larger defenders on him in single coverage opportunities, and I certainly expect them to double team him when that’s not happening, and even at times when somebody like (Andrew) Bogut is on him. The last period was very singular from my aspect, of let’s just get him the ball. We’ll run the same play ten times in a row, and we did. And he delivered. We talk about the spacing behind (double teams), what his outlets are going to be, and anticipating if they’re going to front him, coming from high-lows and organizing the gym that way. I think that’s more where my mind is, as opposed to thinking that we’re going to be able to repeat what happened in Los Angeles.”