Nets vs. 76ers Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Brooklyn Nets will travel to the City of Brotherly Love on Thursday to take on the Philadelphia 76ers in a highly-anticipated Eastern Conference battle.
Philadelphia enters this one with an overall record of 40-24, and is 5-0 with James Harden in the lineup. Meanwhile, Brooklyn is hovering on the edge of playoff contention and can’t afford to lose many more games, especially against Eastern Conference opponents.
Outside of Ben Simmons, the superstars for both the Nets and 76ers are all expected to suit up for this one. Will we see Philadelphia grab a win and climb closer to the top of the East, or will Brooklyn get back on track and begin a late push for better playoff positioning?
Brooklyn Nets Imploding on Defense
Brooklyn has not had the season that many were expecting, which has happened for a variety of reasons.
Kyrie Irving still cannot participate in home games, Kevin Durant just returned after missing several weeks with an injury, and James Harden was traded for Ben Simmons, who has yet to play a game this season.
Those factors have pushed Brooklyn all the way down to the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference with a record of 33-33. They have also been a huge reason why the Nets have gone just 4-16 in their most recent 20 games.
In that 20-game stretch, Brooklyn’s defense has been the main culprit behind the collapse. The Nets’ Defensive Rating has soared to 118.4, which ranks 28th in the NBA in that span. They have allowed their opponents to shoot 49% from the floor and 37% from behind the arc.
The return of Kevin Durant was seen as an opportunity to clean things up on that end of the floor, but Brooklyn’s Defensive Rating has risen to 120.4 and opponents are shooting 50% overall in the three games that Durant has appeared in.
It appears the only hope for improving their defense is Ben Simmons, but he will be sidelined for this game so it is likely those struggles continue.
Philadelphia 76ers Rolling With Harden
The addition of James Harden to the lineup has done wonders for the 76ers — with every game it looks more like this team can win it all.
Since resuming play after the All-Star break, Philly has posted an Offensive Rating of 120.4, which is third in the NBA behind the Bucks and the Timberwolves. Having Harden on the floor has given this offense a completely new look, as well as introduced new dimensions not seen when Simmons was on the roster.
In fact, the combination of Harden, Embiid and Tyrese Maxey has suddenly become one of the deadliest trios in the NBA since the trade was made.
With those three on the floor, the 76ers have posted an Offensive Rating of 133.2, all while shooting 54.6% from the floor overall and 42% from three. The offense has been absurd when those guys are in sync — their play on defense has been equally as impressive as their Defensive Rating is 103.3.
Harden, Embiid and Maxey have combined for an average 82 points per game in their five games together. They’ve caused problems for every team that has crossed their path, and they could certainly continue that trend against this struggling Nets defense.
Brooklyn’s defense is clearly not strong enough to rely upon consistently, but the Nets still have enough fire power on the offensive end to get points against a good Philadelphia defense.
Since this game is on the road, Kyrie Irving will be making an appearance, which is obviously great news for the Nets. Irving is coming off of a 50-point scoring performance on 79% shooting on Tuesday. Having him next to Durant, who is averaging 32 points per game against Philly this year, will likely have this offense in a rhythm early on.
I expect Philly’s trio to continue its dominance against a weak defense, but the Nets will certainly get some buckets of their own. As a result, I expect to see a high score in this one in what could potentially be a playoff series preview.
Pick: Over 222.5 (-110)