Sixers’ Injuries Limit vs Bucks, Tobias Harris Update

Seth Curry, Tyrese Maxey

Getty Tyrese Maxey #0 and Seth Curry #31 of the Philadelphia 76ers talk during the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks at Wells Fargo Center on November 08, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Philadelphia 76ers entered their 118-108 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks with no shortage of top players sidelined. Ben Simmons remaining out was a given, but not having either Joel Embiid or Tobias Harris proved to be too much to overcome. 

Before Embiid tested positive for COVID-19 and entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Sixers held an 8-2 record — leading the Eastern Conference. A two-game losing streak has begun a potential slide in the standings.

Against the Bucks, the Sixers benefitted from Tyrese Maxey (31), Georges Niang (21), and Shake Milton (20) each surpassing 20 points for their scoring totals. However, there just wasn’t enough firepower available to overcome a team led by two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Part of the Sixers’ limitations against the Bucks was Seth Curry not being able to participate in the game. He has been one of the NBA’s most efficient offensive players this season while averaging 16.8 points per game.

Seth Curry Was Surprising Late Scratch

There was a possibility the Sixers would be without Seth Curry entering their matchup with the Bucks. He faced a questionable designation as he deals with a foot contusion.

The expectation from Sixers coach Doc Rivers for Curry’s status was for him to be available to play. As the start of the game approached, the language changed — making it sound as though Curry would be ruled out.

“I don’t know,” Rivers said. “I literally kinda thought he was gonna play and then late, you could hear the language, it didn’t sound like he was gonna play. So we start adjusting pretty quickly after that. I’m not even sure what it is. I think it’s his toe, but I’m not sure.”

The situation with Curry is a microcosm of what the Sixers have dealt with to begin the season — key players being sidelined due to injury and having to adjust on the fly.

Decision Against 10-Man Rotation

There was talk from Rivers about using a 10-man rotation leading up to Sixers’ loss to the Bucks. He opted against using it — explaining how losing Curry right before the start of the game changed the team’s plans and required adjustments.

“We just decided not to,” Rivers said. “We stayed away from it. I thought out guys were alright. They were fresh enough. Furk (Korkmaz), I thought we needed to get him rest. He shot 2-for-18, 44 minutes is too much. Losing Seth right before the game was not in the game plan, obviously, but that happens in NBA games. It just does. You get late scratches and you gotta adjust.”

The Sixers will need to monitor the ‘load’ of key role players who have been required to play heavier than usual stretches of minutes with key players sidelined.

Danny Green was supposed to be limited to 20 minutes of action after making his return from injury and managed to clock in for 28:38 worth of time on the floor. Having his availability limited made the circumstances all the more challenging to not have Curry available.

Help Is On The Way

The Sixers will have Tobias Harris back in the lineup soon. Rivers shared an update on Harris’ status prior to the team taking on the Bucks — expressing how Harris is ‘feeling better’ and is ‘closer to returning than the others.’

“Tobias is doing a lot better,” said Rivers. “I know that. Other than that, all the other guys are still where they’re at, but I would say just talking to Tobias, he’s the one guy that I’d say would be back sooner than later.”

Having Harris in the lineup not only brings the Sixers its second-leading scorer and highest-paid player but also helps with having enough depth in the frontcourt to compete for the full duration of games. His versatility on the wing being able to play both forward positions is important.

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