Game: Philadelphia 76ers @ Denver Nuggets
Time: 9:30 p.m.
Odds: Sixers +5, Nuggets -5
It’s a matchup of two of the NBA’s best in Denver tonight. The Denver Nuggets (50-24 SU, 40-33-1 ATS) will host the Philadelphia 76ers (49-25, 43-31) at Ball Arena. Denver is currently on a three-game winning streak, while Philadelphia has lost three of its last four games and has some significant injuries.
The Phoenix Suns thrashed the Sixers 125-105 on Saturday, handing them their second straight loss. Tyrese Maxey scored 37 points and Joel Embiid had a double-double (28 points, 10 rebounds) for Philadelphia, but no other 76ers player scored more than 13 points. James Harden (Achilles) and Joel Embiid (Calf) are both listed as questionable for tonight’s game making Philly’s situation even more dire. Embiid has been outstanding, averaging 34.5 points a game this month and Maxey (23.0 ppg) is arguably playing his best basketball of the year.
With a commanding 129-106 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, the Nuggets easily earned their third straight victory. With 31 points and 11 assists, Nikola Jokic had a big night, and Jamal Murray chipped in with 26 points. Denver has played outstanding defense over the past few weeks, allowing just 104 points per game during their winning streak and 105.6 points over their previous five games. The team might be without Michael Porter Jr., who is the third-leading scorer for the Nuggets.
Harden has missed the last three games but, when healthy, he, Maxey and Embiid have been a lethal 76ers trio, accounting for roughly two-thirds of the team’s offense with a combined average of just under 80 points per game in March. In order to have a chance at beating the Nuggets, the Sixers will likely need both Embiid and Harden back in the starting lineup. Without Embiid and Harden, Philadelphia will likely struggle to produce, especially when playing against a strong Denver defense.
Denver has struggled on defense for most of the season, ranking 11th in the NBA with 112.7 points allowed per game. However, the Nuggets have recently found a way to make it a strength. If they are fully recovered for tonight’s game against the Sixers, that defense may come in handy.
Assuming the Sixers stars are healthy, the matchup between centers Jokic and Embiid will be an exciting one to watch. Jokic won’t necessarily need to outscore Embiid, but he will need to find a way to stop the Philadelphia player from scoring on the inside. Embiid tore it up in the first game against Denver when he had 47 points and 18 rebounds.
Denver has won 17 of its last 20 games at home. The Nuggets are 4-1 SU and ATS in their last five games. Philly is actually 9-3 SU in its last 12 games and 7-2 SU in its last nine on the road. The Sixers have covered in 12 of their last 18 games against the Nuggets. The Under is 4-2 in the Sixers’ last six games and 5-0 in Denver’s last five.
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