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NBA Preview: New Orleans Pelicans try to close out home stand with win over Philadelphia 76ers

DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis versus Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons!

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

A frustrating four-game home stand comes to a close tonight in the Smoothie King Center as the Pelicans host everyone’s favorite process trusters, the Philadelphia 76ers.

The 76ers, as many know and love, were built around being very bad for a very long time to increase their odds at landing all the best young and very talented players in NBA drafts. It sorta sounds like the Avengers Initiative if you think about it *Samuel L. Jackson voice* THERE WAS AN IDEA...

I think I got sidetracked for a second, where was I? Oh right, the Sixers are sitting at 13-13, a much improved record over the past few seasons and owe a lot of this early-season success to their prized young commodities Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Embiid, in only his second season, is averaging 23 points, 11 rebounds and three assists and will be available tonight after being held out of Philadelphia’s previous game against the Cavaliers for rest purposes. Simmons, the current favorite for Rookie of the Year, is doing a little bit of everything for the Sixers. Through 24 games, Simmons is averaging 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Friday night against the Lakers, Simmons recorded his third triple double in his 23rd career game. Only Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson achieved that feat in fewer games.

For all the praise that’s been heaped on the Sixers 6’10” point guard phenom, Simmons is still bogged down by poor shooting numbers. Simmons shoots 50 percent from the floor but hasn’t made a three this season and only makes about 56 percent of his free throws. In and around the paint Simmons can finish like no other so New Orleans has to be ready for the dribble penetration.

The Sixers are losers of three straight and look to be without two of their key contributors TJ McConnell and Robert Covington. McConnell sprained his AC joint in his shoulder and Covington suffered a lower back contusion last night in Cleveland after falling on some metal near the bench. Covington is Philadelphia’s best defender and the one who would draw the most minutes against Anthony Davis. Hopefully this allows Davis to have a big night in his second game back from his freak groin injury over a week ago.

Geaux Pels!

What: New Orleans Pelicans vs Philadelphia 76ers

Where: Smoothie King Center

When: December 10, 2017, 6:00 p.m. Central

How: FSNO, WRNO 99.5 FM