Game: New York Knicks @ Philadelphia 76ers
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Knicks +10.5, Sixers -10.5
It will be the first appearance by James Harden in front of his new home crowd in Philadelphia tonight when the 76ers host the New York Knicks. The two teams just played on Sunday in New York and Philly came away with a 125-109 victory. It was just another in a tough stretch for the Knicks who have now lost five straight. New York has just one win in its last ten games and they are just 1-9 ATS in that stretch too. It won’t get any easier tonight against a Philadelphia team that has won three straight and five of its last six.
The Sixers have won both of their first two games with Harden in the lineup. They beat Minnesota by 31 and the Knicks by 16. Just before the break, they got a 123-120 win over Milwaukee to give them their three straight wins. The Sixers’ offense averaged 127 points in those three games. That’s not typical of Philadelphia, which ranks 20th in the league in scoring offense.
Philadelphia is known more for its defense which ranks in the top ten (7th) in scoring allowing 105.9 points per game. That may change a bit with Harden now in the lineup. Philadelphia’s pace is beginning to pick up. For the season, the Sixers rank 28th in pace at 99.8 possessions per game. Over their last three games, that number has increased by five possessions per game (104.8) which ranks 13th.
The Sixers have also enjoyed their share of success against New York recently. Philly has won eight of the last ten games against the Knicks and, at home, the Sixers have won nine of ten against New York. The one thing the Knicks have been able to do is cover the spread against Philly. In the past ten head-to-head games, the Knicks have covered six times. However, New York has not covered in five straight games.
Part of the problem is that the Knicks just don’t have much offensive firepower. They are 27th in scoring averaging 105 points a game and much of that can be attributed to not being at full strength. Tonight, the Knicks will be without Derrick Rose, Nerlens Noel, Quentin Grimes, and Kemba Walker who has already been shut down for the season.
Despite the poor offense, the Knicks do have the eighth-best defense in the league. They allow just 107 points per game and if they want to hang around tonight that defense is going to have to step up. Remember, the 76ers have scored 133 and 125 in their last two games since the All-Star break and both totals went Over. That stellar Knicks defense has allowed 117 points a game over their last three. The Over has cashed in six of the Knicks’ last seven games. The total has also gone Over in four of the last five 76ers games.