After a disappointing end to their 2021-22 season, the Philadelphia 76ers bounced back during the offseason, and now they will once again enter the new year with championship aspirations. However, before the team can attempt to advance to their first NBA Finals appearance since 2001, they will first have to get through the 82-game regular season.

The full schedule for the ’22-23 season was released earlier this week, so now we know exactly where and when the Sixers will play all of those games. While all games are important — and interesting — in their own way, some are inherently more exciting than others. Here’s a look at five of Philadelphia’s most intriguing games from the upcoming campaign.

The Sixers’ upcoming campaign starts with a bang right out of the gate, as their first game comes against the defending Eastern Conference champion Celtics in Boston. The game will serve as an (extremely) strong early measuring stick for Philly to see how they stack up against the top East team from last season. After all, if the Sixers are going to make their first Finals appearance in over 20 years next season, they’ll have to get past Boston (and Milwaukee, Miami, etc.) to do it.

For what it’s worth, the two teams split their four regular season games last season, although both teams made some solid additions during the offseason. The Celtics added Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari to their rotation, while the Sixers signed PJ Tucker and Danuel House and traded for De’Anthony Melton. Plus, James Harden didn’t play for Philly in any of the four meetings against the Celtics last season, so he’ll provide a different wrinkle that Boston hasn’t seen alongside Joel Embiid. These two teams have a rich rivalry, so it’s good that we won’t have to wait long to see them go at it in the new season.

The Sixers won’t have to wait long for another good test against an Eastern Conference foe, as their second game of the season comes against the Milwaukee Bucks. If the Bucks had been fully healthy in the playoffs last season, there’s a real chance they would have advanced to the NBA Finals for the second straight season, and they project to be a legitimate contender again this season. They have arguably the best player in the game in Giannis Antetokounmpo and a great supporting cast around him. Watching Antetokounmpo and Embiid do it is always fascinating.

The two teams have also provided us with some entertaining and memorable games recently. Last season, two of their three meetings were decided by a single basket. Plus, who can forget the time Antetokounmpo took a courtside seat after sinking the Sixers in overtime two years ago?

Hopefully this early game between the two teams will be another good one.

Anyone who’s been paying attention to the team over the past year knows exactly why this game is on the list — it could be Ben Simmons’ first time facing the Sixers in Philadelphia after he refused to play for the team again until he eventually traded to Nets in February. His pre-trade behavior catapulted him to the status of one of the most hated athletes in Philadelphia in recent memory, and so the fan vitriol will be evident when (and if) Simmons takes the floor.

The Nets played in Philadelphia after the trade last season, but Simmons didn’t fit. However, that didn’t stop the Philly faithful from letting their feelings about the prized former pick be known, as they cheered and rocked him at every possible opportunity. Assuming Simmons plays this time, the energy level at the Wells Fargo Center will be off the charts. Not to mention the fact that the two teams could very well compete with each other for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference.

This game represents a matchup between two of the best — and most dominant — centers in the game today, Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic. As we know, Embiid finished second to Jokic in the MVP voting in each of the last two seasons, and as such a bit of a rivalry has developed between the two. Since the players compete in two different conferences, they don’t face each other very often, which makes the times they do even more special.

To this point, the two star centers have played against each other just six times total, with Embiid and the Sixers winning four of those contests. In games against Jokic, Embiid is averaging 22.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.2 blocks per game, while Jokic is averaging 21.5 points, nine rebounds, 7.2 assists and one block per performance against Embiid. They’ve never faced each other in the playoffs, and unless the Sixers and Nuggets both make it to the Finals, it won’t happen this season. So this regular season game is the best we’re going to get.

This is a game some Sixers players will probably have circled on the calendar, as it’s the team’s first chance to get some revenge on Miami after the Heat eliminated them in six games in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season. Had Joel Embiid been healthy for the entire series, maybe things would have turned out differently, but hey, we can’t rewrite history, and as it stands, it was the Heat who ended Philadelphia’s championship aspirations last season. The Heat project to be a legitimate player in the Eastern Conference again, so it will be interesting to see how the teams stack up against each other in the new season after the offseason adjustments both sides made.

Speaking of offseason adjustments, this game also has an interesting wrinkle in it, as it will be PJ Tucker’s first game against his former franchise since the Sixers traded him away from Miami in free agency. The Heat weren’t too happy about losing Tucker, as he was a big part of what they did on both ends of the floor, but in this situation one team’s loss is another’s gain. Given this background, both teams can come out with an extra motivation for this one.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *