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Doc Rivers, Sixers preparing for first matchup with LeBron James, Lakers

January 27th, 2021

There are always big matchups on the NBA calendar that everybody circles. Every team gets up and gets ready for the big matchups on their schedule and for the Philadelphia 76ers, their first real big one is LeBron James and the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

The Sixers are coming off a very disappointing loss to the Detroit Pistons on Monday where they did not play well on either end of the floor while missing Joel Embiid. They will be looking to return home and get back on the right path as they now have a new opportunity to get better.

“We’ll be ready when the time comes,” said coach Doc Rivers. “They got LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Trezz (Montrezl Harrell), they got a lot of players. I thought they had probably the best summer of anyone, and they’re better than last year. That doesn’t mean they’re gonna win. It doesn’t mean they’re gonna win it, but they are better than last year.”

Embiid is expected to return to the floor on Wednesday as he was not listed on the injury report on Tuesday, but he does have a tough matchup with Marc Gasol coming up.

Gasol has a history of locking up Embiid in the past. The big fella is averaging 27.7 points on the season and is building an early MVP candidacy, he is averaging only 10.6 points in eight regular-season matchups with Gasol and he went scoreless in a game against him on 0-for-11 shooting when he played for the Toronto Raptors in the 2019-20 season.

If one wants to get even more specific, Gasol held Embiid to 1-for-7 shooting in their two matchups in the 2017-18 season when Gasol was still with the Memphis Grizzlies per NBA Stats. Gasol then held him to 5-for-13 shooting in the 2018-19 season and Embiid then shot just 1-for-16 against him in the 2019-20 season.

It will be a test for Embiid to get it done, but it will also be a test for a young player like Tyrese Maxey who is a part of Klutch Sports with James and Anthony Davis.

“It’s always good to play, they’re the champs right now,” Maxey said. “Until somebody knocks them off, they’re the reigning champs. It’ll be a good test. Try to get us a W.”

Tipoff from Wells Fargo Center is set for 7:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday.

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!


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