Chet Holmgren gets first matchup against NBA MVP

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) smiles Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) smiles Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

The Oklahoma City Thunder are riding a six-game winning streak, the largest in the NBA, and are tied for first place in the Western Conference. With an 11-4 record, the OKC Thunder will put their winning streak on the line in the Paycom Center against the Philadelphia 76ers. This will be a crucial matchup for Chet Holmgren.

After a great West Coast trip, the OKC Thunder returned home on Wednesday to keep the lowly Chicago Bulls losing. The Thunder were treated to two off days over the holiday and are now facing off with the 76ers, who are 10-5, sitting fourth in the Eastern Conference, on a two-game skid.

The OKC Thunder face off with the 76ers in what will be an interesting test for rookie big man Chet Holmgren.

In the 76ers’ last matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves, they were without big man Joel Embiid. Now, the team lists the League’s MVP as “probable” against the Oklahoma City Thunder. This is setting the stage for the best treat of the week.

Chet Holmgren has been stellar through his first 15 games, averaging 17 points, eight rebounds, two assists, a steal, and two blocks per game. The Gonzaga product is shooting 55 percent from the floor, 43 percent from beyond the arc, and 87 percent from the charity stripe.

Holmgren has bested Victor Wembanyama on the latest NBA Rookie of the Year Ladder, and it is thanks to his winning impact on the OKC Thunder.

The Thunder rookie has already squared off with Victor Wembanyama and Nikola Jokic this season, even testing himself against Giannis Antetokounmpo in the preseason. This will be his first official game against Joel Embiid after the two have speared in the offseason.

This will represent an interesting litmus test for Chet Holmgren and a full-circle moment. After the big man suffered a Lisfranc Fracture last August, he talked with Embiid about handling the injury.

Joel Embiid missed his first two seasons with a foot injury before playing in 31 games during the 2016-17 season and eventually working his way into MVP status in the NBA. Now, the two will go head-to-head for the first time in their careers.

Even aside from this matchup, it will be a fantastic game in downtown Bricktown, as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Tyrese Maxey will assuredly put on a show as bucket-getters to complement their big men.

With the OKC Thunder missing Jalen Williams (hip) for another game, this would be one of their most impressive wins on the season if they can pull off this midday victory against the 76ers.

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