Thybulle back vs. shorthanded Spurs after ‘confusing' time on sidelines


A Friday night win over the Spurs would be the Sixers’ sixth straight victory, matching a season high.

Here are the essentials for the 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: and the MyTeams app 

And here's more on the matchup: 

Both sides shorthanded 

We’ll begin with the important fact that both the Sixers and Spurs will be missing key players. Here’s who’s out for the Sixers:

  • Tyrese Maxey (health and safety protocols)
  • Paul Reed (health and safety protocols)
  • Jaden Springer (health and safety protocols) 
  • Shake Milton (back contusion) 
  • Ben Simmons (personal reasons)

Isaiah Joe, who exited Wednesday’s win over the Magic early, was listed as questionable with “right side of back pain.” Danny Green (left calf tightness) was also questionable.

The Spurs’ Keldon Johnson, Derrick White, Devin Vassell, Doug McDermott and Thaddeus Young are all out because of COVID-19 protocols. San Antonio on Thursday signed Tyler Johnson and Anthony Lamb to 10-day contracts under the NBA’s hardship exception. Johnson recently wrapped up a 10-day stint with the Sixers. 

Thybulle back after ‘very frustrating’ time away

Matisse Thybulle is set to play in his first game of 2022. 

The 24-year-old wing was ruled out about two hours before the Sixers faced the Rockets on Monday. He’d been listed as questionable leading into the game because of COVID protocols. 

Thybulle explained Friday that he had no symptoms and received “different test results — inconclusive, negatives, a random positive.”

After being out with COVID-19 in November, he’d appeared in 19 consecutive games, including five straight starts. 

“Very frustrating,” he said, “especially as the rule changes come and go on a whim, it feels like; it gets confusing. And for a recently recovered player to get tested so soon, the concern would be false positives. To draw positives and inconclusives and have to sit out for almost a week is a little frustrating.”

Thybulle pointed to the Sixers’ “overall energy, defensive intensity and pace” as major factors in the team’s winning streak. He enjoyed watching Joel Embiid and Andre Drummond successfully share the floor against Orlando, though he was not expecting it at all. 

“I thought somebody messed up with the subs,” he said with a laugh.

Sixers should have free throw edge 

The Spurs beat the Celtics on Wednesday, snapping a four-game losing streak despite taking only five foul shots.

While the five three throws were a season low for San Antonio, that number wasn’t an extreme outlier. Per Cleaning the Glass, the Spurs are last in free throw rate (14 made foul shots per 100 field goal attempts).

The Sixers should be able to gain a significant advantage at the foul line. Joel Embiid’s 10.3 free throws attempted per game rank No 2 in the league, a hair behind Giannis Antetokounmpo. His 8.3 makes per game are comfortably first. 

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