Sixers aim to end 0-for-Oklahoma City skid
The last time the Philadelphia 76ers won a road game against the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise, the Thunder didn't exist.
The 76ers have beaten the Thunder just once -- Nov. 15, 2008 in Philadelphia -- losing 19 consecutive games overall and nine consecutive games in Oklahoma City heading into Thursday night's game at the Thunder.
The overall skid is the longest active streak against an opponent in the NBA.
The Thunder's winning streak isn't the longest in franchise history against an opponent. That belongs to the Seattle SuperSonics, who beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 27 consecutive times from 1991 to 1997. The Sonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder after the 2007-08 season.
It won't be easy for the 76ers to break the streak Thursday.
Philadelphia will be without two crucial frontcourt pieces against Oklahoma City, with Joel Embiid and Boban Marjanovic out.
Embiid, a two-time All-Star, has missed the last three games with left knee tendinitis and has been ruled out for Thursday's game.
In the first meeting of the season between the teams -- a 117-115 Oklahoma City win in Philadelphia on Jan. 19 -- Embiid delivered a hard foul on Thunder star Russell Westbrook in the final two minutes that drew an animated reaction from Westbrook. It was the latest event in a budding rivalry between the two.
Marjanovic, who was acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers in late January, injured his right knee late in the fourth quarter of Monday's win in New Orleans when he got tangled up with the Pelicans' Cheick Diallo.
An MRI came back negative; Marjanovic was diagnosed with a bone bruise and mild sprain. He is expected to miss at least five days.
"(After) the initial sort of examination, there's a sigh of relief, given what my gut feel was," 76ers coach Brett Brown said.
Oklahoma City comes into the game having lost three of its last four after winning 11 of the previous 12.
The Thunder scored fewer than 116 points for the first time since Jan. 6 in Tuesday's loss in Denver.
Late in the third quarter of that game, Westbrook had words for a father sitting courtside after the man's son poked Westbrook after a whistle.
"I don't know him; he don't know me," Westbrook said.
"Just let him know you've just got to go control your kids; it's that simple. For all the fans, though, there's too much leeway for the fans to be able to touch the players and get away with it and then we can't react and do the things we need to do to protect ourselves."
Without its two big men, the 76ers will turn to rookie Jonah Bolden and Amir Johnson in the middle. Philadelphia recalled Justin Patton from the G League. Patton, the 16th pick overall in the 2017 draft, has played in just one NBA game in his career.
The 76ers will also be without guard Furkan Korkmaz, who underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair torn meniscus in his right knee.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 28, 2019