The Spurs have been one of the most pleasant surprises early on, starting out with a 2-0 record and sliding into the #9 spot in the West. They were playing two teams they were in direct competition with, and will now have their hands full with the 76ers, who are coming off a loss.
Every single game for the Spurs will be critical if they hope to be involved with the two-team playoff at the end of the regular season. Given the effort they have played with so far, it is not that crazy to think they can do it.
The 76ers on the other hand allowed TJ Warren to lead a short-handed Pacers team past them. Warren scored 53 points, and was left open way too often. Their hyped-up new starting lineup failed miserably, as Shake Milton and Joel Embiid had some beef.
This is a critical game for them, as the more they lose, the more likely they end up as a six-seed. Anything is better than 4-5 because Milwaukee would await in round two. But for purposes of playing, that should be their goal.
Odds: The 76ers are 6.5-point favorites, with the over/under set at 228.5.
San Antonio Looking to Stay Hot
If you’ve seen the Spurs’ first two games, you’ve seen a few players that were sparingly used this year now in larger roles. Keldon Johnson and Drew Eubanks have added great value to the short-handed Spurs. Every single player has carried their weight, and then some. And they’re shooting the three at a rate we didn’t see in the first part of the year.
Both of their wins featured late-game sloppiness, but they corrected it enough to hold in in each. DeMar DeRozan, Dejounte Murray, and Derrick White will need to continue to lead this offense. And Jakob Poeltl will have his hands full with Joel Embiid.
It’s worth mentioning that Poeltl was limited to 21 minutes against Memphis yesterday. The team was +25 when he was in. -23 when he was off the floor. They need Jakob to avoid foul trouble, badly.
Philly Looking for First Bubble Win
The game against the Pacers and a few old friends (TJ McConnell and JaKarr Sampson) should be out of their mind by now. They have to be moving on to the next game. The good news is that this is considered a home game for the 76ers. They have lost just twice “at home” this season.
Joel Embiid is coming off a 40 & 20 performance last game and will be looking to build off that. But the bench did not deliver, and for some reason, Brett Brown had Raul Neto playing closing minutes. Some of his rotation decisions were not the brightest.
They’ll also look to Matisse Thybulle and Josh Richardson for critical perimeter defense. But this is not the same Spurs team from March. Not with personnel or effort. They’re better.
Philly Hangs For Close Win
The 76ers will pull it out, but not cover the spread. Bet PHI (-110) or SAS +6.5, folks. It will be a fun game.
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