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NBA Preview: Pelicans face staunchest of tests against Sixers tonight, who remain unbeaten in Philadelphia

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New Orleans is going to have to pull a rabbit out of their hat.

New Orleans Pelicans v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans (6-19) need to notch a win in the worst way, but tonight they’ll have to go through a giant in his forest to get it.

Joel Embiid and the 19-7 Philadelphia Sixers are up next on the schedule, where they have recorded a perfect 13-0 record at home. They’ve won 12 of their last 14 games and have been on a really nice roll, knocking off the Raptors, Nuggets and Celtics in their previous three contests.

Everything, of course, starts with the big man in the middle. Embiid is averaging 22.7 points, 12.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks on the season and currently finds himself ranked 7th on the odds leaderboard of winning the next Most Valuable Player Award. However, the rest of the starting lineup deserves mention because they are all pretty darn good.

Al Horford, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson are each averaging double figures in points and seeing over 30 minutes of action per game. Harris is the clear number two scorer on the 76ers, Horford, the steadying vet presence and Simmons, the triple-double threat, who has also recorded the first two made three-pointers of his career this season.

The Sixers Achilles heel may be three-point shooting (averaging fourth lowest amount of attempts), but they have the size, length and agility to give opponents grief, so its not a surprise to read they’re currently fielding the fourth staunchest defense. They’re hard to run on, allowing only 11.9 fastbreak points (3rd), and they’re excellent on the boards, cleaning up a league-best 77.6% of opponent misses.

At the start of the year, Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said, “I don’t know if there’s a more talented team in the NBA.”

Welp, the Pelicans look like they’ll face the stiffest of challenges in trying to end their 10-game losing streak. There’s no doubt they’ll require either catching Philly on an off night or shoot lights out — or both! Maybe JJ Redick can burn his old team for an obscene number of three-pointers, Jrue Holiday rekindle some magic in front of his former home crowd, and/or Brandon Ingram remind folks that he really does deserve to win this year’s Most Improved Player Award.

But then again, we must remind ourselves that the Pelicans also have to go play some good defense, too.

Sigh.

Geaux Pels!

Where To Watch/Listen

What: New Orleans Pelicans (6-19) at Philadelphia 76ers (19-7)

Where: Wells Fargo Center

When: Friday, December 13, 2019 6:00 PM CST

How: Fox Sports New Orleans