The Philadelphia 76ers continue their five-game road trip Thursday, January 19, when they square off against the Portland Trail Blazers in the cross-conference battle at Moda Center in Portland.
The 76ers and Trail Blazers are seeing each other for the first time this season
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Joel Embiid put on quite a show in back-to-back games at Los Angeles on Friday and Sunday, putting up 35 points in a 113-112 victory over the Lakers, then 41 in a 120-110 triumph over the Clippers.
Embiid has scored 30 or more points in six straight games, wrapped around a three-game absence for a sore left foot, with an average of 35.7 points per game in the run.
Lillard has a similar six-game run, with an average of 39.0 points in the stretch. Lillard scored 40 and 44 points in his last two outings, the latter coming in a 122-113 road loss to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday.
The stars from opposite conferences have gone head-to-head just four times in their careers, with each team winning twice. Lillard has gotten the better of the individual duel, thanks to a 51-2 scoring difference in 2020 when Embiid sprained his left ankle in the game’s sixth minute.
They’ve met once since, with Embiid enjoying a 35-30 scoring advantage, but the Trail Blazers had the team edge in a 118-114 home win in February 2021. Embiid did not play in either of the Sixers’ games against the Trail Blazers last season.
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The 76ers have opened a five-game Western Conference road swing with three straight wins, having also recorded a one-point win at Utah last Saturday. The trip ends this Saturday at Sacramento.
Embiid has been far from a one-man show during his Western showcase. Tyrese Maxey has averaged 19.7 points in the three wins and Tobias Harris 17.5 in the last two games, while James Harden had a pair of double-doubles averaging 27.5 points and 12.0 rebounds to get the trip rolling.
Harden has a far more extensive head-to-head history with Lillard than Embiid. The former Houston Rockets standout dueled Lillard to a virtual standstill (Harden 26.8 points per game, Lillard 25.5) in a 4-2 Portland series win in the 2014 playoffs. They have met 28 other times in the regular season, with Harden averaging 32.8 points in those games en route to a 15-13 edge in wins.
Injury reports 76ers: None of injuries.
Injury reports Blazers: Gary Payton II (Hip), Jusuf Nurkic (Calf) and Justise Winslow (Ankle).