No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn: Sixers close out 2021 tonight against the Nets
The Philadelphia 76ers are in Brooklyn tonight, finishing off a three game road trip. Tonight will be last game for the Sixers in 2021, and it will be against the first place team in the Eastern Conference in the Nets.
The Sixers enter tonight on a two-game winning streak, but have struggled as of late to find consistency, going 5-5 in their last 10 games. They enter tonight with an 18-16 record and currently sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
Brooklyn is 23-9 on the year and as I mentioned, sitting in first place in the East. The Nets have won five of their last six games and haven’t missed a beat, even without Kyrie Irving stepping on the court this season, and both Durant and Harden spending time on the COVID list. Irving has cleared health and safety protocols, but will not be allowed to play at home in New York City given the vaccine mandates.
Health and Safety Protocols
Earlier today, Doc Rivers entered the league’s Covid protocols. Assistant Dan Burke will take over as acting coach. Tyler Johnson and Myles Powell will also be joining Rivers in protocols and will be unavailable for tonight’s game.
Andre Drummond and Shake Milton have both cleared protocols and are listed as questionable for tonight’s game. Milton is averaging 11.2 points per game this season and it would be huge to get him back as another ball handler off the bench for the Sixers. Of course, adding Drummond back to the bench to back up Joel Embiid is always a plus as well.
Kevin Durant and James Harden
Joe Harris and Kyrie Irving will both miss tonight’s game but the 76ers still have their hands full with Kevin Durant and James Harden. Durant is averaging 29.7 points per game on 52.3% shooting. Nets head coach Steve Nash says he expects Durant to return to the floor tonight.
Durant will be returning to the team after missing the last three games in protocols. Even in Durant’s, absence, Patty Mills, Nicolas Claxton, and rookie Cam Thomas have all stepped up to provide valuable minutes over the past few weeks.
76ers-Nets Odds via Parx Sportsbook, the official sports betting partner of The Liberty Line.
|Philadelphia 76ers||+175||+5 (-107)||Over 222 (-112)|
|Brooklyn Nets||-220||-5 (-114)||Under 222 (-109)|
Someone, anyone, needs to help Joel Embiid
Over the last 5 games, Joel Embiid has dominated opponents:
- 36 PTS – 11 REB – 4 AST
- 36 PTS – 13 REB – 2 BLK
- 23 PTS – 10 REB – 2 BLK
- 41 PTS – 10 REB – 5 BLK
- 32 PTS – 9 REB – 6 AST
Embiid is doing his part, so where’s help?
I know I sound like a broken record but the Sixers need more consistency from Tobias Harris. Last game against the Raptors, Harris notched first career triple double with 19 points, 12 rebounds, and a career high 10 assists. Similar to Embiid, he took advantage of Toronto’s lack of size by getting to the line, going 13/14 from the charity stripe.
However, the last time the Sixers faced the Nets, Harris put up a terrible stat-line, going 3-17 and finishing with 11 points. If this team wants a shot at winning tonight, they are going to need a huge performance from Harris and more consistency from Seth Curry and the rest of the supporting cast around Embiid.
Georges Niang returned from COVID protocols in a big way last game, drilling 5/8 shots from beyond the arc and scoring 19 points against the Raptors. Niang gives the Sixers necessary floor spacing along with quality defense and quick decision making and will need to continue to be a key player if the Sixers want to win basketball games against strong opponents.
I’ll write it until my fingers fall off. If the Sixers want to win, they need consistency from players not named Joel Embiid.
The Philadelphia 76ers are relatively healthy entering tonight’s game, however the Nets are too. It will be an interesting test to see if the Sixers are able to compete with the first place team in the East, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports