Preview: Sabonis, Embiid set to square off on Tuesday

Dec 13, 2022, 9:40 AM

| Updated: 2:38 pm
Domantas Sabonis of the Sacramento Kings and Joel Embiid of the 76ers....

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Update (2:30 PM PST): De’Aaron Fox is expected to be active for Tuesday night’s game in Philadelphia, per The Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson.

Original Story

The Sacramento Kings (14-11) will look to shake off an ugly loss against the New York Knicks when they face the defensive-minded Philadelphia 76ers (14-12) on Tuesday afternoon.

Kings guard De’Aaron Fox (foot soreness) participated in Monday’s practice and Tuesday morning’s shoot-around, meaning that he could be nearing a return to action. Sacramento is on the first night of a back-to-back, so it’s possible that the team may hold Fox out until tomorrow’s game in Toronto.

More information regarding Fox’s status will be available in the hours leading into tip-off.

Here is some other information for tonight’s Kings vs. 76ers matchup:

Sacramento Kings vs. Philadelphia 76ers Game Info

When: 4:00 PM PST

Where: Wells Fargo Center – Philadelphia, PA

TV: NBC Sports California

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Pregame coverage starts at 2:30 PM PST on Game Night

Line: 76ers -5.5, O/U: 229

What To Watch For

Battle of the Bigs

You should grab some popcorn for this one.

Tuesday night’s matchup between these two teams will feature two centers that are currently playing their best basketball, as Domantas Sabonis will go head-to-head with Joel Embiid.

Embiid, who is fresh off of a 53-point performance that took place on Sunday evening, is averaging 33.4 points per game as he will look to attack the weak Sacramento interior defense that ranks 25th out of 30 teams in defending the paint.

Sabonis hasn’t been a slouch on the defensive end over the past six games, as he has held a defensive rating of 104 since November 30th. The two-time All-Star will have his hands full on Tuesday as he will face Embiid, a player he is no stranger to after spending five seasons in the Eastern Conference.

Containing Embiid is a tall task–one that might only be partially possible for Sacramento, a team that lacks a true rim-protector. Keeping other 76ers threats like James Harden and Tobias Harris in check will likely be the key to winning this game, all while trying to keep Embiid from going nuclear.

Philadelphia will also have to worry about containing Sabonis, seeing that the 26-year-old has been on an absolute tear over this season.

Over the past seven games, Sabonis is averaging 17.7 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game while shooting 69 percent from the field and 67 percent from three-point land.

Sabonis has done an excellent job of staying out of foul trouble over the past two weeks, averaging 3.1 personal fouls per game (down from nearly four fouls per game). Having Sabonis on the floor to combat Embiid will be a significant key on Tuesday, so the big man must be cautious while battling it out in the post to keep the whistles quiet.

Help Wanted: Three-point shooting

As good as the Sacramento Kings have been from beyond the arc this season, the past four games could have been a better representation of that success.

Aside from a 48 percent showing from deep during Friday’s win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Kings have shot 31 percent or lower from beyond the arc since December 4th. When the shots aren’t falling for Sacramento, losses usually follow:

When players like Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk struggle in unison, it’s tough for the Kings to get things going from three-point land.

Huerter is shooting just 22 percent from beyond the arc over his past eight games, while Monk’s 31 percent rate also leaves a lot to be desired. Sacramento finished Sunday’s loss in New York nine-of-36 (25%) from deep. You won’t win many games when that happens.

Philadelphia enters play on Tuesday with the NBA’s fourth-best defensive rating (110.1), third-lowest opponent points per game average (108.4), and number-one ranked three-point defense (33%), meaning that if the Kings were hoping that this game could be a slump-buster, they are going to have to work for it.

Recent History

  • The 76ers have won seven-straight games against the Kings dating back to March 15, 2019.
  • Sacramento’s last win against Philadelphia: February 2, 2019 at Golden 1 Center

Injury Report


  • De’Aaron Fox – AVAILABLE (right foot soreness)
  • Alex Len – OUT (non-COVID illness)
  • Chima Moneke is on a G-League assignment with the Stockton Kings.


  • Danuel House Jr. – DOUBTFUL (left foot laceration)
  • De’Anthony Melton – OUT (low back tightness)
  • Tyrese Maxey– OUT (left foot fracture)

Postgame Show

Check out our Sactown Sports Kings Recap Show on the Sactown Sports 1140 YouTube channel!

Sactown Sports Kings Recap Shows will be happening all season long, immediately following each Kings game!

Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule

Tuesday December 13th – Sacramento Kings @ Philadelphia 76ers – 4:30 PM PST

Wednesday, December 14th – Sacramento Kings @ Toronto Raptors – 4:30 PM PST

Friday, December 16th – Sacramento Kings @ Detroit Pistons – 4:00 PM PST

Monday, December 19th – Sacramento Kings vs Charlotte Hornets – 7:00 PM PST

Wednesday, December 21st – Sacramento Kings vs Los Angeles Lakers – 7:00 PM PST


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