76ers look to keep things rolling against the New Orleans Pelicans tonight in South Philadelphia
The Philadelphia 76ers are back home tonight after completing a season sweep of the Spurs on Sunday night. In San Antonio, Joel Embiid continued his dominance, dropping 38 points to go along with 12 rebounds and six assists. Back on home soil, Embiid and the Sixers will host the New Orleans Pelicans at 7PM.
Tonight’s game is a make-up game after the original matchup was postponed due to ongoing COVID-19 issues on December 19th. It will be the second time the Sixers and Pelicans face off, their first being the NBA season opener.
New Orleans will enter tonight 10 games under .500 and in the bottom five of the Western Conference standings. The Pelicans have won back-to-back games against the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers. In both games, New Orleans had six players in double figures and have been tremendous offensively over their last 10 games, with an offensive rating at 111.9, just outside the top five in the NBA during that span.
The 76ers are locked in a tight race for the top seeds in the Eastern Conference. They will enter tonight with a record of 27-19 and in sixth place in the standings, with every team ranked in the top six seeds within 2.5 games of each other.
The Pelicans are at a relatively healthy point of their season. Zion Williamson still remains out after setbacks with his foot injury. Outside of Williamson, New Orleans has no current COVID issues, and only have Brandon Ingram labeled as day-to-day with an ankle injury before tonight’s contest against the Sixers. Ingram is far and away the best player on this Pelicans squad, and his absence would be very detrimental to New Orleans’ chances against Philly.
For the 76ers, injuries continue to be a big issue. Philly will be without much of their backcourt, including key starter Seth Curry who is still recovering from ankle soreness. Danny Green (hip) and Shake Milton (back contusion) also wont be suiting up against New Orleans. Matisse Thybulle has been upgraded to questionable after suffering a shoulder sprain against the Boston Celtics last week.
Joel Embiid and the Supporting Cast
We all know what Joel Embiid has done over the past two months. The key to the Sixers winning basketball games continues to fall on the shoulders of Embiid’s supporting cast. Last game against the Spurs, more than a few players came alive to help secure the win.
- Tobias Harris had another strong night, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
- Tyrese Maxey notched 18 points with six assists.
- Furkan Korkmaz was another solid contributor tonight, scoring 17 points on 7-for-13 shooting.
- Charlie Brown Jr. was an absolute menace defensively and added 7 points on 3-of-6 shooting.
The winning formula for the Philadelphia 76ers is simple. Let Embiid control the game and make damn sure everyone else on the roster is playing their roles and providing efficient scoring on top of strong defense. From there, the Sixers will have very little issues beating anyone in the NBA, including a bad Pelicans team.
If the Sixers can limit damage from the Pelicans big man, Jonas Valanciunas, tonight’s game shouldn’t be close. In 42 games this season, Valanciunas is averaging 18.4 points, 12 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game, while shooting a very solid 41.7% from three point range.
With Valanciunas playing well, it has opened up opportunities for both Devonte Graham and Josh Hart offensively. Shutting down the big man should help lighten the weight on the Sixers’ perimeter defense.
Tonight’s odds brought to you by Parx Sportsbook, the official gambling partner of The Liberty Line.
|New Orleans Pelicans||+440||+11(-114)||O 212(-108)|
|Philadelphia 76ers||-625||-11(-107)||U 212(-113)|
The 76ers have a bad habit of playing down to competition, and with the lack of depth due to injuries, have blown significant leads created by Embiid once he comes out of the game. With that being said, it’s unlikely the 76ers drop a game to a Pelicans team in obvious free-fall while potentially being without their best player in Brandon Ingram.
I like the 76ers winning here, but still think -11 might be too much.
Mandatory Credit: Ned Dishman