On Thursday night – the Philadelphia 76ers will host the Brooklyn Nets in the first game back from the All-Star Break for both teams.
Kyrie who? He has played in just 20 of 53 games so far, and a supposed re-aggravation of his shoulder injury has him riding pine again. Staying healthy is something Kyrie cannot seem to manage well, playing in fewer than 70 games for a third straight year since forcing his way out of Cleveland. When he is on the court, he is an instant game-changer who can score against anybody. We saw evidence of that with his 53-point performance earlier in the season, It’s back to Spencer Dinwiddie, anyway.
Considering that this game is being played in Philly, it may not be too much of a contest. While playing like one of the worst teams in the league on the road, the 76ers have been nearly unstoppable at home this season. In 27 games at Wells Fargo Center, they have gone 25-2, proving tough to defeat. And it seems that Al Horford is going to continue to come off the bench so that they can have a starting lineup that spaces the floor more. It’s a smart move, but paying Al $112 over four years has proven to be a terrible investment as his fit hasn’t been good.
The 76ers are eight-point favorites tonight, the over/under set at 215.5.
Brooklyn looking for road success
No matter what happens the rest of the way, the Nets should be able to hold on to their playoff spot. There is little to no chance of moving higher than seventh, and the same is true of dropping below eighth, the #9 team with a 20-33 record. The best thing they can do for themselves continues to play hard and get a feel for what guys will be around to support Kyrie and KD next season. They will be much better with two superstars next year, no question, so find out who is here to stay, and who should be moved.
Finally, Caris LeVert is back to his dominant self, injuries taking a serious toll on his game in consecutive years. He is capable of posting big numbers and being a difference-maker when he’s fully healthy and engaged.
76ers trying to stay dominant at home
Winning a game in Philly, against a team that boos its star players, has remained tough. Rumors have started to swirl of a potential Joel Embiid trade this summer, though to this point, they’ve had no merit. He and Ben Simmons are both playing great ball of late, Tobias Harris playing his best basketball of the season too. They are finally at full strength, and their deadline acquisitions Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III give them added depth to their bench, which looks pretty formidable right now.
They’ll need to attack Jarrett Allen to try and get him in foul trouble, as The Fro is among the game’s best rim protectors.
76ers win again at home
Sorry Brooklyn, not today. A Ben Simmons triple-double will lift them to the W.
Free Play: Philadephia 76ers -8
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