The True Litmus Test: 76ers vs Nets Preview
Wednesday night saw Joel Embiid and the 76ers take care of business against the Pelicans to kick off the season. While a 20-point win is always nice to see, the outcome was expected by many. Nobody thought a Zion-less Pelicans team would pose a true challenge to this Sixers squad. One team that certainly does stack up against the 76ers is the Brooklyn Nets, tonight’s opponent in Wells Fargo Center at 8 eastern.
While there were tons of great takeaways from the win on opening night for the 76ers, the old injury bug did not wait long at all to make its presence known. Joel Embiid left Wednesday’s contest after falling awkwardly, only to return later into the contest. Embiid went on to only hit one of his next five shots, and luckily was able to rest a majority of the fourth due to the 76ers running away with the game. Currently, Embiid is listed as questionable for tonight’s game with right knee soreness. This is a game many 76ers fans are used to, and I fully expect Embiid to be out on the court whether he’s 100 percent or not.
On the Brooklyn side, the Nets will come into Wells Fargo Center with no injury issues and a bit more rest after Tuesday night’s loss to Milwaukee. That being side, Kyrie Irving is still out indefinitely for this team, meaning he won’t suit up against the 76ers. Regardless, this will be the first time the Sixers will get to play Kevin Durant since joining the Nets, as he missed both matchups last season to injury.
Since I expect Joel Embiid to suit up for the home opener against one of the best teams in the league, this game will be an early-season litmus test for the 76ers. The Pelicans game was a good way to get the rust off, and with Ben Simmons having finally addressed the team and coaching staff this morning, the 76ers can really focus on proving themselves as a top team in the East tonight. The Nets are hungry to grab their first win on the road, but a sold out Wells Fargo Center is truly another beast. The game will really come down to how healthy is Embiid and who can contain Durant/Harden.
|Philadelphia 76ers||+3 (-115)||-160||O 226 (-110)|
|Brooklyn Nets||-3 (-105)||+140||U 226 (-110)|
This game, like all 76ers games in all reality, is must watch, even if that means suffering through the national broadcast bringing up the Simmons saga 500 times. If this team wants to be the real deal, guys not named Embiid are going to have to consistently step up. Whether that’s Tyrese Maxey’s emergence as the true point guard of Philadelphia or the Turkish Delight becoming a consistent three- point threat, someone has to help Embiid. Catch 76ers versus Nets tonight on ESPN at 8 eastern.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher.