Sixers undermanned again for matchup with NBA's best road team

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The 39-18 Sixers will conclude a four-game homestand Wednesday night.

Here are the essentials for their game vs. the 41-16 Suns: 

  • 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 three storylines to watch: 

Sixers shorthanded again

After missing the Sixers’ loss Monday to the Warriors, Ben Simmons (illness) and Tobias Harris (right knee soreness) are again out vs. Phoenix. Seth Curry (left hip flexor recovery) is also out.

Here are the starting lineups for Wednesday's game:

Joel Embiid had been listed as questionable (left knee recovery) but will play. It will be his eighth consecutive game and ninth overall since returning from a left knee bone bruise.

Phoenix a very hard road team to handle 

Every team in the NBA besides Phoenix has double-digit road losses. The Suns, meanwhile, are 18-7 away from home. 

Phoenix is close to full strength — Abdel Nader is out with right knee soreness — which means this looked like a difficult matchup for the Sixers even before they ruled three starters out.

Chris Paul has 59 assists and three turnovers over his last six games. Devin Booker scored 36 points the last time he faced the Sixers and has averaged 29.7 points per game and shot 47.9 percent from three-point range in his career against the team. Mikal Bridges has improved his three-point percentage to 41.7 and, along with Deandre Ayton, started every game this season. 

The Suns’ bench had a 49-20 edge over the Sixers’ when the teams played back in February, including 15 points from Dario Saric. 

Big news in race for No. 1 seed 

James Harden experienced a setback while rehabbing his right hamstring injury and is out indefinitely, the Nets announced Tuesday. He’s “back to square one,” Nets head coach Steve Nash told reporters. 

Kevin Durant’s left thigh contusion is considered a day-to-day injury, according to Nash. 

Brooklyn beat the Pelicans on Tuesday night to move within a half-game of first place. Since the Sixers won the regular-season series between the teams, the Nets would need to overtake the Sixers completely to earn the No. 1 seed. The Bucks are currently four games back of the top seed and could perhaps give themselves a shot if they sweep their upcoming mini-series against the Sixers set for Thursday and Saturday. 

Even with their next three games against high-quality competition, the Sixers’ remaining strength of schedule is third-easiest in the NBA, per Tankathon

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