Philadelphia 76ers vs Houston Rockets: Match Preview and Predictions - 3rd January 2020
Date & Time: Friday, 3rd January 2020 (8:00 PM ET)
Venue: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Last Game Result
Philadelphia 76ers (23-13): 97-115 defeat to the Indiana Pacers (31st December)
Houston Rockets (23-11): 130-104 win over the Denver Nuggets (31st December)
Philadelphia 76ers Preview
The Philadelphia 76ers enter the new year having lost their final three games of 2019 - and their overall 23-13 record is also underwhelming for a team that was expected to contend for the top spot with the Milwaukee Bucks. Nevertheless, the Sixers still possess one of the most talented rosters in the NBA, and they will be confident of improving in 2020.
While Joel Embiid continues to establish himself as one of the best players in the NBA, the Sixers will be expecting more from Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris moving forward. Additionally, Brett Brown's team will need to mend their alarming road form as they have already suffered 11 road defeats this season compared to just two at home.
Key Player - Joel Embiid
Embiid missed Philadelphia's most recent defeat to the Indiana Pacers due to soreness in his left knee, although the 25-year-old is expected to return in Houston. Through 29 appearances this season, Embiid has averaged 23.7 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game - and he will be eager to get the better of one of his rivals in Russell Westbrook.
Sixers Predicted Lineup:
Al Horford, Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson
Houston Rockets Preview
The Houston Rockets endured a mixed start to the season, although Mike D'Antoni's team has improved over the last month to begin 2020 fourth in the Western Conference standings. The Rockets have been especially strong at Toyota Center (16-4), and they have won six of their past eight games. While there is still plenty of debate if Russell Westbrook has improved the team, there is no doubting that Houston remain among the teams in contention, and they will be eager to start the new year with a victory.
Key Player - James Harden
2019 was James Harden's best year to date, and the 2018 MVP enters the game against Philadelphia averaging 38.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 7.5 assists. The Sixers' defense will double team Harden as they look to slow down his production - although the All-Star appears primed for another huge night.
Rockets Predicted Lineup:
P.J. Tucker, Danuel House, Clint Capela, James Harden, Russell Westbrook
Sixers vs Rockets Match Prediction
Both teams will be aiming to start the new year with wins, although the Rockets have been excellent at home this season, and they should have enough quality to overcome a Philadelphia team that has been awful on the road.
Where to Watch Sixers vs Rockets
The game will be broadcast live on ESPN from 8:00 PM (ET). There will also be live coverage on AT&T Sportsnet - Southwest and NBC Sports Philadelphia. Additionally, you can stream the game via NBA League Pass.