The Philadelphia 76ers are on the road Friday night visiting the Houston Rockets in a battle of potential title-contending teams. Philadelphia comes into the game on a three-game losing streak, while Houston has dropped two of its last four, though it defeated Denver in its last outing.
Philadelphia has been up and down over the last few weeks after a hot start. Tobias Harris has struggled a lot of late, leaving a lot of scrutiny over the five-year max contract that he signed. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have continued to lead the 76ers to success, while they continue to miss Jimmy Butler.
Josh Richardson has had his ups and downs but continues to do what he can to help them win. It is going to come down to the Philadelphia bench at the end of the year, so any moves at the deadline will certainly help.
Houston, on the other hand, looked nearly unstoppable against Denver on New Year’s Eve and will look to start out the new year on a high note. It seems that getting all of its guys back healthy truly made a difference on the floor. Who knew?
Well, obviously James Harden and Russell Westbrook did, as they made things happen throughout the entire game. With Eric Gordon now back, the Rockets have got endless buckets coming in off the bench, between him and Ben McLemore. Austin Rivers has started to play some great ball too.
The spread for Friday night’s game favors Houston by 4.5 points. The over/under is set at 226.
Philly Looking To Get Right
The 76ers have not played too well away from home this year, but with a changing of the calendar, perhaps that can now be different. They rank 17th in points scored while being sixth in points allowed, as defense is playing a big role in their identity.
Matisse Thybulle and James Ennis III will both likely miss Friday night’s game, adding pressure to Furkan Korkmaz and Mike Scott to be the bucket-getters off the pine. Embiid will have a tough test against Clint Capela, so we’ll see how he handles it. Al Horford will also have a difficult matchup against the extremely bulky PJ Tucker.
They will need Simmons to be aggressive and take it at Westbrook. Even as he puts up solid numbers, Simmons has yet to prove he can take over a game. A matchup like this is just what he needs.
Houston Trying To Stay Hot
Already making the Nuggets look like a normal squad with their blowout, the Rockets hope to now do the same to Philadelphia. The Rockets play great on their home floor, with a backcourt that is second to none in the league.
Harden has been unable to be stopped by many teams, as Westbrook has continued to get continually more comfortable with his role. The two of them combine to put up some really ridiculous numbers. The Rockets will likely win the matchup of the benches, so that just leaves it to if their stars can outplay those of Philadelphia.
A big night is likely ensuing for Harden, which is likely all it is going to take for Houston to get it done.
Houston Wins At Home
Another loss for Philadelphia, as the Rockets take another game. They’re heating up.
Free Play: HOU -4.5
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