Tobias Harris questionable with non-COVID illness

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Harris questionable for Sixers’ matchup with struggling Cavs originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Sixers are on a four-game winning streak and have risen to second in the Eastern Conference standings, two and a half games behind the first-place Heat.

They’ll visit Miami on Saturday night, but first up is a home matchup with the Cavs.

Here are the essentials for Friday’s game:

  • When: 7 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:15 p.m.

  • Where: Wells Fargo Center

  • Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia

  • Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the MyTeams app

And here are storylines to watch:

Will Milton help himself?

With 21 regular-season games left, one of the questions facing Sixers head coach Doc Rivers is simply which players are worth having in his team’s playoff rotation.

In Wednesday’s win over the Knicks, he made a mid-game switch from Furkan Korkmaz to Shake Milton.

“It’s going to play out,” Rivers said. “We still have Isaiah Joe we can throw in, as well. It’ll play out. We’ve got time.”

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Milton gets along well with Korkmaz off the floor and said Friday he expects the two will “continue to push each other.” The 25-year-old could strengthen his position by knocking down long-range jumpers. Since returning from a back contusion he suffered on Jan. 3, Milton has misfired on all 10 of his three-point attempts. He’s at a career-low 28.1 percent on threes, while Korkmaz is at just 29.6 percent.

“I want to be in that (playoff) rotation,” Milton said. “That’s why I put in all the work in during the offseason, because I wanted to play when it mattered most. So take pride in the details, and getting really comfortable with what the team needs from me offensively and defensively. And do my best to make my footprint when I’m out there.”

Harris questionable 

Tobias Harris is questionable for Friday’s game with a non-COVID illness. He did not attend the team’s shootaround.

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Since James Harden’s debut, no Sixer has missed a game because of injury or illness. If Harris is unavailable, Georges Niang would presumably take his spot. Cleveland starts a big lineup with Lauri Markkanen, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, so replacing Harris with a guard or wing likely wouldn’t be feasible.

Darius Garland returned from a back injury Wednesday and scored 33 points, but the Cavs got blown out by the Hornets, their fifth loss in six games. Collin Sexton (left meniscus tear) and Caris LeVert (right foot sprain) are out, while Rajon Rondo was listed as doubtful with a sprained toe.

More change behind Embiid

New signing DeAndre Jordan is expected to join the Sixers in Miami, per a team official.

Rookie Charles Bassey has been recalled from the G League. Neither Bassey nor Paul Reed have been in the Sixers’ rotation after the Harden trade, but it would make sense if that changed Friday. The Sixers have lacked rim protection with Paul Millsap at center, and Bassey’s a player who could provide that at a higher level.

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“I’m a defender — block shots, rebound, run the floor,” Bassey said. “Just bringing energy to the team when I’m in there and helping the team win. That’s what I do.”

Reed played a good game when the Sixers beat Cleveland on Feb. 12, holding his own against Mobley. And Embiid was outstanding even by his standards, posting a 40-point triple-double.

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