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Mile High Snowpocalypse features Philadelphia 76ers vs. Denver Nuggets

Nate Timmons Avatar
March 23, 2016


If the city of Denver is going to be buried in snow today, at least we’ll get to see the Philadelphia 76ers face the Denver Nuggets tonight at Pepsi Center. The Sixers bring their NBA league worst 3-32 road record to town and are fresh off a beatdown at the hands of the Indiana Pacers on March 21st by a score of 91-75.

In that game in Indianapolis, the Sixers failed to score more than 20 points in three out of four quarters. Perhaps some of that is due to missing leading scorer, and rookie, Jahlil Okafor (17.5 points per game, second among rookies), who underwent successful surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee on March 22nd.

He’s been out since Feb. 28th when he lit the Orlando Magic up for 26 points on 12-18 shooting. It would have been another good test for Nikola Jokic, and even Jusuf Nurkic. Okafor didn’t play against the Nuggets in Philly either (Dec. 5th), he was serving a suspension from the team after a fight outside a nightclub in Boston on Nov. 25th.

With Okafor out, the Sixers have moved Jerami Grant (has started 42 of his 67 games played) to power forward and start lean and mean Nerlens Noel at center. The Sixers have also deployed a two point guard lineup with pace-pusher Ish Smith and shot heavy Isaiah Canaan (who shoots slightly better from 3-point land at 36.7 percent, than he does from the field at 36.3 percent).

Regular Season Game 72
76ers (9-62) vs Nuggets (29-42)
7:00 p.m. MT on Altitude, 950AM
Projected Starters
76ers  Nuggets
Ish Smith
Isaiah Canaan
Hollis Thompson
Jerami Grant
Nerlens Noel
Emmanuel Mudiay
Gary Harris
JaKarr Sampson (?)
Darrell Arthur
Nikola Jokic


Injury Report:

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 6.04.19 AMScreen Shot 2016-03-23 at 6.05.15 AM

Jerami Grant emerging leader

Sixers head coach Brett Brown recently joined ESPN’s Zach Lowe on the Lowe Post Podcast. One topic they hit on was Jerami Grant, who Lowe and Brown both love as a player that gives his all on the court, and Brown swings the talk from Grant’s all-out style on the floor to the leadership quality emerging within Grant.

“In general, when you start saying, ‘He’s a keeper. He’s an NBA player.’ I look at him as much out of excitement for his leadership, as I do his skill package,” Brown said on the Lowe Post. “He ticks well, he’s been raised well and he’s not afraid to speak. Like I think it’s an emerging leader, apart from a really good player, that we seem to be seeing.”

Seeing Brown talk about Grant as an emerging leader is a good sign for a franchise searching for a way forward, after the “Trust the Process” era that was coined by the guys of the Rights to Ricky Sanchez podcast. Yes, The Process era seems to be coming to an end for Philly.

The Sixers move to hire Jerry Colangelo as an adviser was to help bring stability to a franchise that has posted a 46-189 record the past three seasons under President and General Manager Sam Hinkie. They post posted win totals of 19 and 18 games the past two seasons, respectively, and can only surpass their high under Hinkie — of 19 — by going 11-0 the rest of the way.

Less than one month after Colangelo was hired on Dec. 8th, the team signed free agent veteran Elton Brand on Jan. 4th to bring a voice into the locker room that the youngsters could learn from — not dissimilar to the Nuggets inking Mike Miller this season.

Sampson revenge game

After being released by the Sixers at the trade deadline, in order to make room for Joel Anthony‘s contract in a three-way deal with the Pistons and Rockets (that was vetoed anyway), the Nuggets swooped in and inked JaKarr before he could return to Philly — as was believed to be the team’s plan after waiving him.

The Nuggets gave Sampson a two-year deal, the second-year non-guaranteed, and he’s been playing a big role for the team by filling in for injured Danilo Gallinari in the starting lineup. Sampson killed the Nuggets back on Dec. 5th with the Sixers, scoring 13 points on 3-5 shooting (1-1 from three, 6-8 at the foul line) and grabbing 6 rebounds. The Nuggets won the game 108-105, but Sampson was a +3 on the night in his “Nuggets audition” so to speak.

Sampson is listed as questionable for tonight’s contest as he injured his right in his return to him hometown against the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was an odd play where Sampson was going up for a dunk, was stripped of the ball, continued up on the dunk attempt, grabbed the rim with his right arm and somehow hurt his shoulder. The replay showed that his right shoulder was not hit, so it must have been hurt when he grabbed the rim.

Sampson is a gamer, but we’ll see if he’s able to play through the pain.

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