Game: Brooklyn Nets @ Philadelphia 76ers
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Odds: Nets +6, Sixers -6
Two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference square off when the Philadelphia 76ers (30-16 SU, 27-19 ATS) host the Brooklyn Nets (29-17, 23-23) at the Wells Fargo Center tonight. The Sixers have won five straight and have dominated this series. Philadelphia has beaten Brooklyn in seven of the Nets’ last nine trips to the City of Brotherly Love.
The Nets won their second straight game on Sunday, defeating the Golden State Warriors 120-116. Kyrie Irving led the Nets with 38 points and Nic Claxton had a double-double with 24 points and 15 rebounds. Brooklyn continues to play without its leading scorer, Kevin Durant, who had a knee injury a few weeks ago and is projected to be sidelined for at least two more weeks. Irving has increased his output, averaging 38.7 points over his last three games. Despite Irving’s efforts, the Nets haven’t really been able to make up the loss of their star, going 2-4 without Durant.
The Sixers completed a flawless five-game road trip by defeating the Sacramento Kings 129-127 in their last game on Saturday. Philly won despite not having Joel Embiid and James Harden in the lineup. Tyrese Maxey led Philadelphia with 32 points, and five other players scored 14 or more points each to help Philadelphia win.
Harden (foot) is anticipated to return to the lineup on Wednesday, but Embiid (foot) is still listed as questionable for tonight’s game. Embiid is averaging 35.1 points a game in January, which is about 15 more than Harden (20.7). With Embiid, the Sixers are hard to stop.
Brooklyn and Philadelphia are both middle of the road offensively, but they have two of the NBA’s best defenses, coming in at third and fourth, respectively, in terms of points allowed per game. Both teams will have to lean on their defenses as they play without their stars.
With Harden back in the lineup, the Sixers should be able to challenge the Nets defense. Tobias Harris, Montrezl Harrell, and Georges Niang each scored 17 points in addition to Maxey’s 32 in the win over Sacramento. On defense, the Sixers will focus on slowing down Irving who is Brooklyn’s lone significant offensive threat.
Brooklyn has won 15 of its last 20 games, which has helped the Nets move into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The Nets are 11-3 SU in their last 14 games on the road. They have only covered the spread twice in their last seven games. Philly has covered their last three straight.
The total has gone Under in seven of the Nets’ last nine games. For Philadelphia, the Over is 9-2 in its last 11 games and a perfect 6-0 in its last six home games. The two teams have played once so far this season. The Sixers won 115-106 and covered as a 7.5-point home underdog. The total, which closed at 217, went Over. In the last ten meetings, the teams have combined to average 225.1 points a game.
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