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NBA: Embiid’s Return Couldn’t Come Soon Enough for the Sixers

Philadelphia Sixers fans are understandably excited for the news about Joel Embiid’s imminent return. According to reports, the reigning NBA MVP will return to the court sometime this week.

The hope is that he will return as soon as tomorrow, when they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder at home, as they attempt to improve their NBA 2024 odds of avoiding the play-in tournament.

Elsewhere, the Raptors, Wizards, Heat, Timberwolves, Nuggets, Jazz, Kings, and Warriors are slated to host the Lakers, Bucks, Knicks, Rockets, Spurs, Cavaliers, Clippers, and Mavericks.

As we’re down to the final few days of the 2023-24 regular season, every game matters for all 32 teams. Without further ado, learn more about tomorrow’s schedule as SBOTOP breaks down the top five games to look out for in the nine-game slate.


Los Angeles Lakers @ Toronto Raptors

The “every game matters” mantra certainly applies to the Lakers, who are currently ninth in the Western Conference. Fortunately for the Purple and Gold, they have won six of their last seven, including their 116-104 victory over the Nets on Sunday night.

All five players in the starting lineup scored in double digits for the Lakers in the said game, but it was LeBron James who stood out, as the King dropped 40 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and nine three-pointers.

After the game, James said that “he doesn’t have much time left” in his NBA career, but the Lakers need him to turn back the clock a few more times for the Lakers to make it back to the postseason.

They will face a downtrodden Raptors team that is on a 13-game losing streak. Gary Trent Jr. has been the brightest spot for them, but he is going to be rested by Toronto tomorrow.


Oklahoma City Thunder @ Philadelphia Sixers

Joel Embiid is not the only injury concern for the Sixers, as Tyrese Maxey is also questionable to play against the Thunder. The 23-year-old point guard was ruled out in Sunday’s victory against the Raptors due to a hip injury.

Against Toronto, Kelly Oubre Jr., Cameron Payne, and Tobias Harris led the way in the 135-120 win, having combined for 77 points, and they will be relied on to continue to bear the offencive cudgels should Maxey and Embiid remain out.

The Thunder, meanwhile, have clinched their playoff berth because they have the best record in the Western Conference (52-22).

After recording 19 points, including the game-winner against the Knicks on Sunday, MVP candidate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is listed as questionable to play due to a quadriceps injury.


New York Knicks @ Miami Heat

With Julius Randle and OG Anunoby unlikely to play anytime soon, the Knicks will continue to rely on Jalen Brunson to do the heavy lifting on offence.

The Knicks are currently at the 4th spot in the NBA Eastern Conference standings
Jalen Brunson is expected to spearhead New York Knicks’ offence in the absence of Julius Randle

Brunson has been on fire lately, averaging 32.9 points per game across his last 10 appearances, including a 61-point explosion in the overtime loss against the Spurs on Friday.

The Heat, on the other hand, recorded their largest margin of victory in franchise history when they routed the Blazers with a 142-82 scoreline on Friday, which was followed by a 119-107 win over the Wizards.

The Knicks will have their hands full trying to contain Bam Adebayo because he finished March with norms of 17.8 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game.


Houston Rockets @ Minnesota Timberwolves

After seeing their 11-game winning streak ended by the Mavericks, the Rockets aim to get back to winning ways when they visit the Timberwolves.

Against Dallas, Jalen Green struggled because he only had 12 points on 5-of-15 shooting from the field. Before that, the 22-year-old averaged 30.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per contest during their unbeaten run.

The Rockets will have to deal with the Timberwolves’ star combo of Anthony Edwards and Rudy Gobert, who are capable of producing NBA 2024 highlights. Edwards is coming off a 22-point, 11-rebound double-double against the Bulls, while Gobert has tallied four consecutive double-doubles.


Dallas Mavericks @ Golden State Warriors

The Mavericks are gunning for their eighth consecutive win against the Warriors, who are on a four-game undefeated run themselves.

Against the Rockets, Luka Doncic dropped 47 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and nine three-pointers, while his backcourt partner Kyrie Irving had 24 points, seven assists, three rebounds, and four three-pointers.

Meanwhile, Steph Curry is doing all he can to make sure that the Warriors stay alive in the play-in hunt, and he is coming off a 33-point, 8-assist night against the Spurs on Sunday.


 

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