76ers vs. Nets Odds, Pick, Prediction: Back Brooklyn for Convincing Win
Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets.
- The Nets are favored on Thursday night against the 76ers.
- Brooklyn gets a huge boost with the return of Kevin Durant, while James Harden is red hot.
- Jacob McKenna breaks down the game and gives his top pick below.
76ers vs. Nets Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
Philly has struggled to find much of rhythm lately, going 5-5 in their last 10 games. However, they have managed to win their first two games of their road trip by defeating the Wizards and Raptors, which could be a sign of things to come.
Meanwhile, Brooklyn appears to be rounding into form, and as many people expected they sit in first place in the Eastern Conference.
COVID-19 has been running through many teams within the last month, but both Philadelphia and Brooklyn fell victim to the virus early on and enter this matchup with relatively healthy squads. Which team will come out on top now that both are over the hump?
76ers Too Reliant on Embiid?
The 76ers enter this matchup with an 18-16 record and sitting in sixth in the Eastern Conference, both of which are uncharacteristic of a team that we have become used to seeing dominate in the regular season.
COVID and the entire Ben Simmons fiasco have played a role in their struggles, and the only reason that this team has stayed afloat up to this point is because of Joel Embiid. He’s been unstoppable as of late, averaging 33.6 points and 11.2 rebounds in his last five games.
However, outside of Embiid, Philly hasn’t gotten significant contribution from anywhere else. Tobias Harris, someone the 76ers have expected to step up in the absence of Simmons, has scored under 20 points in eight of his last 12 games. In addition, Tyrese Maxey and Seth Curry have both scored under 15 points multiple times within the last month, with Maxey going under that total in seven of Philly’s last 10 games and Curry in five of the last 10.
As a result, Philly finds itself ranked 13th overall in Offensive Rating according to NBA Advanced Stats, scoring 109.7 points per 100 possessions. As a team, the 76ers rank 15th in the NBA in field goal and three point percentage, further proving they have been fairly mediocre on that end of the floor this season.
Nets Showing Unexpected Depth
COVID-19 has held the Brooklyn Nets back all season, especially since Kyrie Irving has yet to step on the floor for them. However, Brooklyn has weathered the storm and still remains the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.
Brooklyn came face-to-face with the virus on Dec. 12 against the Pistons, but since that point they have won five of their last six games and haven’t missed a beat.
According to NBA Advanced Stats, the Nets have the sixth best Offensive Rating during that span, scoring 114 points per 100 possessions. In addition, the Nets have still managed to shoot 47.8% from the floor in their last six games, even when they have been without Kevin Durant, James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Kyrie Irving on the floor for a period of time.
Brooklyn has gotten tons of production from unlikely suspects, including Patty Mills, Nicolas Claxton, and rookie Cam Thomas. Mills has averaged 37 minutes and 23 points in his last six games, and ever since COIVD hit Claxton has averaged 15 points per game while Thomas has averaged 11 points per game off the bench.
Brooklyn has shown tremendous depth and toughness recently, both of which will play a role against Philly on Thursday.
Joe Harris and Kyrie Irving will miss this matchup, but with James Harden and Kevin Durant back in the fold on Thursday, this will be the healthiest that Brooklyn has been in a long time.
Even while shorthanded, this Nets team scored 114 points against the 76ers in their previous matchup, a game in which we saw Kevin Durant put up a 34-11-8 stat line. What’s even more impressive is that was done without James Harden and LaMarcus Aldridge on the floor, but both of those guys will be back tonight.
Philadelphia has lacked consistent fire power outside of Embiid this year, and a healthy Nets team is one that can, and has already, run all over the 76ers. I like Brooklyn with the points tonight and I would play it to -6.
Pick: Brooklyn Nets -4 (-115)