NBA on TNT Thursday Odds: Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers

Brooklyn at Philadelphia

Time: 7 PM CST (TNT)

Spread: PHI -8

Total: 215.5

Odds c/o 5dimes

The Brooklyn Nets have won its last two and seven of its last 10 overall enterings tonight’s road matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers. Philadelphia is 8-point favorites in NBA odds at 5dimes, with the over/under set at 215.5 total points. The game will tip-off at 7 PM (CST) on TNT.

PHILADELPHIA NEWS & NOTES:

The Philadelphia 76ers are seeded No. 5 in the East currently, with an eight-game lead over No. 7 Brooklyn who it faces today. The Sixers trail No. 4 Miami by just 1.5 games.

Philadelphia averages 108.6 points per game, ranking No. 22 in the Association in scoring. It allows 106.2 per, and the Sixers have a win-differential of +2.4 points. Joel Embiid is the team leader. He averages 23.4 points, 12.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.2 steals/blocks in just 31.1 minutes per game. The signing of Al Horford has helped the Sixers manage the load of Embiid much better. Embiid has also appeared in only 31 games to this point and is currently now cleared for non-contact conditioning drills. He is expected to be evaluated again in another week.

Horford is averaging the same 30 minutes per game, and he averages 12.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.9 steals/blocks per game. The Sixers have Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson starting on the wings, and both are producing, combining to average 34.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

Ben Simmons is certainly a unique point guard, but he has not been without his issues. The 6’9” point-forward is averaging 14.9 points, seven rebounds, and 8.6 assists per game, but the mantra that he “cannot shoot” is not dying any sort of quick death. While Simmons shoots a very fine 56.3 percent from the floor, he is still passing on most jump shots, and he very rarely (0.1 per game) shoots the triple.

It does affect matters. Teams do not respect Simmons’ shooting ability and that makes it easier to double team Embiid and Harris. Until Simmons gains a respectable mid-range jumper and potentially even a three, it is tough to imagine the Sixers making that final step towards true contention. Philadelphia is a good team, but in some senses, it is an easy team to prepare for. While Embiid is extra-worldly, Simmons’ upside is quite mitigated by his errant shooting. It is not much different than the trajectory seen in the career of Rajon Rondo. Either add a respectable jump shot or keep launching uncontested bricks. It is up to Simmons which it is.

BRK news & notes:

Brooklyn enters as winners of seven of its last 10 SU. The Nets are 25-28 but still very much in the playoff chase, indeed lodged in the No. 8 spot in the East. Brooklyn is in the chase, but the real question most have is “Did Kyrie Irving actually make the Nets a better team?”

A superficial glance at his stats would indicate “yes,” but there is far more to it than that. Irving has been questionable in terms of his leadership, and he is doubtfully really making his teammates better while he is on the court. Even so, LeBron James’ former sidekick is putting up numbers: 28.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 7.2 assists per game. Perhaps what has really enabled the success though is the play of Spencer Dinwiddie, who is a legitimate All-Star this season. Dinwiddie was expected to regress with Irving joining the fold, and the opposite has happened: He is having his best career year.

Dinwiddie is averaging 22 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game while posting the third-highest PER of any Net (18.54). Caris LeVert has missed the majority of this season after suffering an injury early in the season. Prior to going down, LeVert was averaging 15.6 points and 3.4 assists per game. He is needed as a third scorer in the starting lineup, and his subtraction only appears to be minor. LeVert has a penchant for finding his offense and he would take some pressure off of Irving and Dinwiddie, and indeed, the Nets will be far more formidable when he returns to the fold. The injury to his thumb was expected to cause him to miss 4-to-6 weeks after having surgery, but there is no real time table on his return even so.

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