3 things to watch in Sixers’ matchup with Pelicans, Anthony Davis

With the Philadelphia 76ers on a three-game win streak, their longest of the season so far, they are starting to get in a groove as the season progresses.

Jimmy Butler has been with the Sixers for four games, and despite his short time with the team, he’s made an impact on both ends of the floor. Butler has averaged 18.3 points per game on 55.3 percent shooting from the field.

His game-winning three in overtime against the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday has highlighted his time in Philly, and the Sixers are 3-1 with him on the squad.

Philly will look to extend their win streak to four games Wednesday when they face the New Orleans Pelicans on their home floor at 7 p.m. EST.

Battle between Joel Embiid and Anthony Davis

Joel Embiid has staked his claim as an early-season MVP candidate, and he has done so with dominance inside and around the post. He’s shot 68.6 percent when he’s within three feet of the basket and has 11 games with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds.

As the Sixers’ top scorer, Embiid ranks third in the league in points per game (27.9), and fourth in rebounds per game (13.1).

With Embiid being one of the most dominant players in the league, a scoring battle is likely when he squares off with Anthony Davis, who is having an MVP-caliber season of his own thus far.

Davis is ranked fifth in the league in points per game (27.6), and both of these big men rank in the top five of the league in blocks per game; Davis sits ranked second, and Embiid is fifth.

The Pelicans are on a three-game win streak of their own, and with Davis and Embiid both playing good ball, this game could come down to which player dominates most late in the game.

Ben Simmons’ recent play

Ben Simmons hasn’t averaged many shots per game so far this season, as he’s played seven games where he’s attempted fewer than 10 field goals.

But in the past two games, Simmons has been more aggressive. And as a result, he’s put together some of his most complete games of the season, finishing one assist shy of a triple-double in each game.

Simmons scored a season-high 23 points in the Sixers’ overtime win against the Hornets, shooting 53.8 percent from the field. In the team’s victory Monday against the Phoenix Suns, the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year scored 19 points and shot 69.2 percent from the floor.

Simmons is still attempting most of his shots around the basket, as 58.7 percent of his field goals come from 0-3 feet away from the hoop.

Though Simmons hasn’t taken a 3-pointer in his career, he can still make an impact inside – but must be aggressive in doing so. The Sixers don’t need him to score a lot, but he still has to look to score when the opportunity presents itself.

As the Sixers look for their fourth straight win, another solid game from Simmons could lead them to victory.

T.J. McConnell back in the rotation

Markelle Fultz was Simmons’ backup point guard previously, but T.J. McConnell got back into the rotation Monday night against the Suns after not playing in the previous three games.

McConnell played nine minutes, and Fultz played seven, his fewest number this season. On Tuesday, per reports from The Athletic’s David Aldridge, Fultz’s attorney Raymond Brothers said Fultz would see a shoulder specialist early next week and would not participate in Sixers’ practices or games.

Fultz, however, worked out with the Sixers on Tuesday, per reports from Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

With Fultz reportedly out of the lineup, McConnell is going to be back in the rotation. He’s a solid backup point guard who’s capable of leading the Sixers offense well. McConnell is also a solid defender and provides energy off the bench.

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