There are a lot of storylines heading into Thursday's matchup between the Sixers and the Lakers.
It's a battle of the rising stars with rookies Ben Simmons, Lonzo Ball, and Kyle Kuzma continuing to show their dominance. It's a rematch of the Sixers' Nov. 15 win in Los Angeles when Joel Embiid unleashed for a career-high 46 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, and seven blocks. And, it's a prime time featured battle.
"Philly wanted to see this from day one," Robert Covington said following the Sixers' shootaround Thursday morning. "This is one of the games I figure is going to be standing room only, sold out. Any big plays, you aren't going to be able to hear anything. You might go deaf in there."
The Sixers-Lakers bout is one of just four NBA games slated for the day and the first of TNT double-header. The Sixers are very aware that they'll be playing a nationally televised game that is a hotly anticipated matchup of young teams, and are expecting a special kind of buzz come game time.
Even with some of the standout performances of the season and expectations of the team, Covington is confident that the potential of the team has yet to be realized.
"We're still growing and we still have a lot of things that we're trying to fix," he said. "Once we unlock everything, city of Philadelphia ain't going to be ready for it."
But the Sixers are still trying to maintain a calm demeanor heading into a game that they're favored to win.
"We're just making sure as a team we sit up here and handle our business, because we let one slip away the other day with Phoenix so we've got to bounce back," Covington said. "Tonight's going to be a show."
As far as making sure the Sixers the don't stumble against the young Los Angeles team, JJ Redick said the Sixers need to make sure they play good tradition defense and limit the Lakers second chance points.
We won't know until a short time before the game if Dario Saric and T.J. McConnell will be on the court against the Lakers.
Saric (left eye laceration, right eye corneal abrasion), who was swiped by Amir Johnson during a play in practice Wednesday, is questionable.
McConnell (sprained AC joint left shoulder), who has missed three games because of his injury is also listed as questionable for the game.