The Brooklyn Nets travel to Philadelphia to meet with the 76ers. For many, this is the game of the week due to many things, but it appears the contest won’t have the desired intensity. Hosts are banged up with various injuries, with several of their players out for sure and a few, among them Embiid, being questionable. What also raises hype here is that Ben Simmons comes to Philly for the first time following his trade. The former No.1 pick has played well in the last couple of games, indicating that he might be back in his previous shape.
Brooklyn Nets (8-9, TBA) have Kyrie Irving back following a solid suspension due to his off-court behavior, but we can’t say that his return improved the situation in Brooklyn. Yes, they did beat the Grizzlies, 127-115, but Uncle Drew had zero assists and 14 points. Now what kind of a point guard has zero assists?
We are going to be straightforward and tell you that Irving will only complicate the situation for the Nets, who played excellently without him on the team, becoming one very tough defensive unit. With Irving that won’t be even near, because he simply isn’t playing defense.
Simmons caught the groove, finding himself in various roles, even as a center from time to time. He scored 22 against the Grizzlies with 8 boards and five assists, and in the game, prior to that in Portland (109-107 for the Nets), Ben had 15 points, 13 boards, and seven assists.
Philadelphia 76ers (8-8, TBA) is without James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Furkan Korkmaz, while Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and PJ Tucker remain questionable. The Process has the least chance of playing the game, but it remains to be seen.
Doc Rivers is a bit worried because of all the injuries, but that is something that has been Philly’s curse in the past few years, and he can’t do anything about it. The Sixers had three wins in a row before losing to the Timberwolves, 112-109 in a pretty tight contest.
If it weren’t for Embiid’s injury, we think the Sixers could win this event, especially with how they played the defense in the final period, limiting the guests to only 15 points in those 12 minutes. It was very important for Rivers to find another scorer, and Shake Milton stepped up to score 27 buckets while Melton added 19.
Head to Head Games
The result in the last year’s series was 3-1 in favor of the Nets, who lost that one game at home two days before the New Year.
If Embiid plays, things will be much easier for the 76ers, who will be the favorites for us, because, on the other side, we have a disruptive factor, who goes by the name of Kyrie Irving. As said, Embiid and Harris are questionable, but with these two on the team, we are siding with the hosts. In case they aren’t on the field, go with under 215 points.
Pick: 76ers win (if Embiid and Harris play)
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.