The Philadelphia 76ers face a relatively easy schedule going into their final seven games of the season; they have a good chance of ending the season as the 1st seed in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets are in the midst of a rebuild and are struggling with one of the most injury-plagued rosters in the league.
Fixture: Philadelphia 76ers vs Houston Rockets | NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Wednesday, May 5th, 2021; 8:00 PM ET (Thursday, May 6th; 5:30 AM IST).
Venue: Toyota Center, Houston, TX.
Houston Rockets Preview
The Houston Rockets have been in a slump since the exit of James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets.
The Rockets had a run with their new core of John Wall, Victor Oladipo, DeMarcus Cousins and Christian Wood. But that didn't quite work out, as injuries plagued them early on, and they could never recover.
The Houston Rockets traded away Oladipo, waived Cousins, and have rested Wall till the end of the season. The Houston Rockets are languishing at the bottom of the standings and have the worst record (16-49) in the league this season.
Coach Stephen Silas has had to deal with as many as 37 different starting lineups, and that hasn't helped the Houston Rockets' cause. They are focusing on player development,t but given the sheer number of injuries, the roster is limited to an 8-man rotation with little room for improvement.
The Houston Rockets are looking towards the 2021 NBA Draft, where they have a 52.1% chance of grabbing a top-4 pick and a 14% chance of getting the coveted 1st overall pick.
Key Player - Kevin Porter Jr.
20-year-old Kevin Porter Jr. has sizzled for the Houston Rockets in the last week.
After he became the youngest player to drop 50 points in a game, social media went abuzz with how the Cavaliers gave him up for nothing but a second-round pick. Cleveland forward Kevin Love spoke about Porter Jr.:
"Kevin Porter Jr...He was by far the most talented guy (on the Cavs). He's left-handed Russell Westbrook. (He) can rebound, pass, finish and can get his own shot."
Houston Rockets Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Kevin Porter Jr. | Shooting Guard - Avery Bradley | Small Forward - Jae'Sean Tate | Power Forward - Kelly Olynyk | Center - Christian Wood.
Philadelphia 76ers Preview
The Philadelphia 76ers are back on top of the Eastern Conference, thanks to their recent five-game win streak.
They are favorites to clinch the 1st seed due to their easy schedule and also because their rivals, the Brooklyn Nets, are reeling with injuries to key players.
Meanwhile, Ben Simmons returned to the 76ers lineup earlier this month and hit the ground running. He is making a strong case for this season's 'Defensive Player of the Year' award and has said on numerous occasions that he deserves to win it over the Utah Jazz's Rudy Gobert.
Meanwhile, Tobias Harris is the Philadelphia 76ers' second-best scoring option. He is averaging nearly 20 points per game, along with grabbing seven boards per outing.
Harris has played more games than Embiid and Simmons and has been incredibly reliable this season. Coach Doc Rivers has trusted him with the ball late in games and also complimented him for his improvement at the defensive end of the floor.
Key Player - Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid continues to lead the Philadelphia 76ers and is making a strong case for his first-ever MVP award this season.
He is averaging 29.3 points per game, which is the third-highest in the league this season; he has the second-highest Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 30.3 this campaign.
Embiid has hit many clutch shots for the Philadelphia 76ers this season and has scored 40+ points in 13 games so far, including one game where he dropped 50.
Philadelphia 76ers Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Ben Simmons | Shooting Guard - Seth Curry | Small Forward - Danny Green | Power Forward - Tobias Harris | Center - Joel Embiid.
76ers vs Rockets Match Prediction
The Philadelphia 76ers have a healthy starting lineup, which makes them the overwhelming favorites to win this game.
Meanwhile, the undermanned and struggling Houston Rockets are expected to be no match for Doc Rivers' side, who have an elite defense.
In all probability, the Philadelphia 76ers could have a blowout victory on Wednesday as they enter this game with the hope of getting an easy win. But they'll need to guard against complacency, though.
Where to watch the 76ers vs Rockets game?
The Philadelphia 76ers vs Houston Rockets game will be locally televised on AT&T SportsNet Southwest and NBC Sports Philadelphia. The match can also be streamed live with an NBA League Pass.