We back: 76ers-Pelicans Season Opener Preview
As hard as it is to do, I need everyone to forget about Ben Simmons. 76ers basketball is back, and everyone already knew Joel Embiid was the heart and soul of this team anyways. In the midst of the chaos that has been Ben Simmons returning to Philly so far, there is still basketball to be played. The season kicks off with 76ers vs Pelicans tonight at 8:00 Eastern.
Before we deep dive into the contest, it is important to understand who’s available for this contest for 76ers vs Pelicans. Obviously Ben Simmons won’t be playing, after being suspended for yesterday’s actions. With that out of the way, lets focus on players that actually want to be a Sixer. Shake Milton suffered an ankle injury late in the pre-season, and it seems to be worse than previously imagined. Matisse Thybulle had been dealing with a shoulder injury, but was removed from the teams injury report ahead of today’s game.
On the flipside, New Orleans will be without their franchise centerpiece tonight. Last week it was reported that Zion Williamson’s nagging foot injury would sideline the former All-Star for the start of the season. That means that the Sixers will be dealing with a Pelicans team comprised of Brandon Ingram, Jonas Valanciunas, and Devonte Graham to open the season.
Now, lets take a look at how the all time matchup between these two teams stacks up. Surprisingly, the 76ers hold the one game edge despite playing a majority of their contests against New Orleans during the process era. In season opening games, the 76ers have won just two of their last six contests, with neither coming outside of Wells Fargo Center. Luckily the last two openers have been the wins, and Philly will look to make it three tonight.
Outside of Ben Simmons, this lineup remains almost identical to the team we saw last season. Keep in mind this team was able to win games against inferior opponents with Ben Simmons out due to injury. Philadelphia has also definitely upgraded in weak spots with Andre Drummond and George Niang replacing Dwight Howard and Mike Scott. It will be interesting to see if Doc Rivers decides to lean towards the Furkan Korkmaz starting point guard lineup like he did in preseason, or throw rising star Tyrese Maxey into the mix.
|Philadelphia 76ers||-3.5 (-110)||-160||O 216.5 (-105)|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+3.5 (-110)||+140||U 216.5 (-115)|
There is no reason this Philly squad shouldn’t come out and dominate to begin the season. I expect a huge game from Joel Embiid that reminds not only Philly fans, but the entire National Basketball Association why he was an MVP frontrunner last season. Tip-off is set for 8 tonight on NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook.