Undefeated on the road since the start of the new year, the Philadelphia 76ers will be in a slightly different travel scenario when they visit the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night in a game that will pit Sixers coach Doc Rivers against his former team.
On Sunday, the Sixers picked up their third road victory in three tries this month, this one against the Los Angeles Lakers. Afterward, there was no postgame travel itinerary as the team was able to stay put in rainy Southern California.
Using a new-look starting lineup, Philadelphia went down to the wire against the much-improved Lakers, earning a 113-112 victory after Joel Embiid provided an insurance basket with 45.7 seconds remaining.
Embiid then disrupted a potential game-winning shot by the Lakers’ Russell Westbrook in the final seconds.
In his fourth game since missing a handful of contests because of left foot soreness, Embiid had 35 points and 11 rebounds in 36 minutes. It was his second game of a back-to-back after he scored 30 points in 36 minutes of a victory at Utah on Saturday.
James Harden added 24 points for Philadelphia on Sunday, a day after he scored 31 against the Jazz, with 18 coming in the fourth quarter of another one-point victory, 118-117.
Tyrese Maxey used a rare game off the bench to score 16 points, including seven in the decisive fourth quarter as the Sixers moved a season-high 11 games over .500. It was just Maxey’s third game off the bench, and the first two were in his return from a fractured foot.
Rivers said Maxey suggested the lineup change, and Maxey confirmed his willingness to have a role in the second unit. Rivers was known for having Lou Williams anchor his second unit when he was the Clippers’ coach.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to be the bigger person,” Maxey told reporters in Los Angeles. “I felt like it was kind of trending towards (that), but I’m a professional at the end of the day. I feel like I am a starter in this league, but I feel like our team is so good that I think we can have multiple people starting.”
The Clippers enter Tuesday’s game off a much-needed 121-100 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday, just their second win in nine games. Without Paul George (hamstring) for the fifth consecutive game, Terance Mann scored a career-best 31 points for Los Angeles.
“I think just getting downhill, that’s my game,” Mann said. “Shooting open 3s, that’s my game. And creating for others. Keep the pressure on the defensive end and yeah, that’s what I really like to bring to the table. That’s just how I want to try and win.”
After seven seasons with Rivers as their head coach, the Clippers are in their third season with Tyronn Lue, who has been challenged with finding an effective mix of players in a season when the team has been crushed by injuries.
Kawhi Leonard, who has missed 24 games this season in a rocky return from knee surgery, had 30 points for Los Angeles on Sunday.
After the Clippers gave up 63 points in the first half, they held the Rockets to 10 in the fourth quarter.
–Field Level Media