The Sixers look to extend winning streak to five games tonight against the San Antonio Spurs
The Philadelphia 76ers are back in action tonight at home against the San Antonio Spurs. They are winners of four straight games and will be on the national stage vs the Spurs tonight. The Sixers will be without their MVP front runner, Joel Embiid, who will be out the next 2-3 weeks with a bruised knee. The team will get Ben Simmons back for the first time since the All-Star break. Simmons was out due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols for COVID-19. His return couldn’t come at a better time, with the Sixers currently sitting atop of the Eastern Conference standings at 25-12 with a half-game lead on the Brooklyn Nets.
The Spurs have performed well on the road this season, posting a 9-5 record. More impressively, they are 7-1 against Eastern Conference teams this season with their only loss being against the Brooklyn Nets in overtime. However, after having four straight games postponed February 16-22nd, the Spurs have lost four of their last seven games.
While Tobias Harris, Seth Curry, and Shake Milton will most certainly see an increase in offensive responsibilities with Embiid sidelined, Ben Simmons is the key that makes everything work for the Sixers. Simmons is a nightly triple-double threat and after a slow start to the season offensively, we now are witnessing an aggressive Ben Simmons who welcomes contact at the rim and attacks opposing defenses fearlessly and relentlessly.
Simmons certainly can’t do it alone. Tobias Harris is playing the best basketball of his career and will need to step up on both ends of the court in Embiid’s absence. Both Tony Bradley and Dwight Howard will see increased playing time as well. In their first game back after the All-Star break, Tony Bradley got a rare start for the Sixers and had a fantastic game, scoring 14 points, with five rebounds and three blocks in 22 minutes. Bradley made his presence felt on both ends of the court and Doc Rivers was able to keep Dwight Howard in his normal role with the bench mob. Bradley was tremendous, scoring in a variety of ways that included post-ups, offensive rebounds, and beautiful pick-and-rolls.
Matisse Thybulle has been red hot since the season resumed after the All-Star break and has eight steals over his last two games. Offensively, Matisse has stepped his game up as well. Thybulle was a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor and 3-for-3 beyond the arc against the Chicago Bulls last week. He finished with 13 points, four rebounds, one assist, and five steals in that game. Last game against the Wizards, Matisse was 4-for-6 from the floor with eight points, three rebounds, two assists, three steals, and one block.
The Sixers bench unit as a whole have been tremendous over the last two games and without Embiid their roles have never been more important.
|SPURS||+4.5 (-110)||+164||o233.5 (-110)|
|SIXERS||-4.5 (-110)||-196||u233.5 (-110)|
The Sixers have been playing extremely well over their last handful of games. Even with Embiid missing a good chunk of their game against the Wizards and without Simmons, the team recorded two of their three biggest margins of victory over the Bulls and Wizards.
The Sixers have covered 13-of-19 spreads at home this season and tonight should be no different.
Picks: Sixers -4.5 and o233.5