Brooklyn Nets vs. Philadelphia 76ers 12/30/21: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Live Stream

Brooklyn Nets vs. Philadelphia 76ers Matchup Preview (12/30/21)

The Philadelphia 76ers (18-16) face off against the Brooklyn Nets (23-9) Thursday night. The 76ers are 7-6 in December and will look to climb the standings by defeating the 1st place Nets. The 76ers have won 3 of their last 5 games largely due to the dominance of Joel Embiid. He averaged 33.6 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.8 BPG on 55/44/86 shooting during that span. In the previous two matchups between these teams this season, the 76ers lost 114-109 on October 22nd and lost 114-105 on December 8th. Andre Drummond, Danny Green, and Shake Milton (COVID) are game time decisions. Green has been an impactful 3&D player for the 76ers, averaging 1.5 SPG and shooting 37.4% from deep. Milton has been a key cog on the second unit through his scoring (11.2 PPG) and playmaking (2.9 APG). The backup center position has been lacking without Drummond’s size and rebounding. If they can get back on the court against the Nets, it will be a boon for the depleted bench. 

The Nets have won two in a row since they were forced to postpone three consecutive games. Durant (COVID) has been out the last two games, which has vaulted Harden into his familiar role of being the main scoring option. With the ball in Harden’s hands for the majority of the game, he averaged 37.5 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 12.5 APG on 50/41/81 shooting. It seems as though Harden has become comfortable under the new foul rules and is finding his groove. The Nets are expected to be without Joe Harris (ankle), David Duke (COVID), and Kessler Edwards (COVID) against the 76ers. However, Durant is ready to make his return and continue his MVP-caliber season. With Durant and Harden back on the court together, the 76ers have a formidable defensive task in front of them.

Brooklyn Nets vs. Philadelphia 76ers Betting Odds

The Nets are 2-0 against the 76ers this season, and I expect the sweep to continue. I am going with the Nets moneyline and would take the Nets to cover the spread up to -4. These teams are closely matched talent-wise, so look for the 76ers to keep it extremely close the whole game. However, the Nets offensive duo is impossible to contain forever and will clinch the victory for the Nets in the final 6 minutes of the game. For player props, I like Seth Curry to achieve 20+ points. The last two matchups, Curry averaged 26 PPG, which is a full 10 point difference from his season average of 16 PPG. The 76ers are 12th in the NBA in percentage of 3PT shots made that are assisted, so look for Curry to let it fly all night on spot up threes.

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TV Schedule

Date: 12/30/21
Time: 8:00 PM ET
Arena: Barclays Center – Brooklyn, NY
Channel: NBA TV

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Brooklyn Nets Starting Lineup

PG: Patty Mills
SG: James Harden
SF: Bruce Brown
PF: Kevin Durant
C: Nicholas Claxton

Brooklyn Nets Analysis

The X factor for the Nets in this matchup is center Nic Claxton. In only 20.5 MPG, Claxton has produced 1.3 BPG and a 5.6 block%. The Nets need Claxton to limit Embiid to an average night and not allow Embiid to go off for 40 points and 15 rebounds. In addition to Claxton, the Nets will look to Patty Mills for secondary scoring and playmaking. Mills is averaging a career high 14.4 PPG while shooting 45/44/89. His spot up proficiency has given Harden and Durant more space to drive and less help defenders to worry about.

Harden does not have the pressure of being the only creator on the floor because Mills is a reliable, steady ball handler. At times, Harden has seemed passive and willing to be a playmaker. As shown by the last two games against the Lakers and Clippers, Harden is at his best when he is attacking the basket and aggressively seeking his shot. He puts tremendous pressure on the rim and forces defenses to sink towards the basket and give some space to the shooters on the perimeter. If Harden can balance his playmaking duties with his scoring duties, the Nets will radically improve their championship odds.

Philadelphia 76ers Starting Lineup

PG: Tyrese Maxey
SG: Seth Curry
SF: Matisse Thybulle
PF: Tobias Harris
C: Joel Embiid

Philadelphia 76ers Analysis

In Joel Embiid the 76ers trust. He has been the key to their success through his interior presence, both offensively and defensively. The 76ers are 1st in the NBA in blocks (6.0 BPG) but are tied-17th in opponent 3PT% (35.1%). The transition defense has been appalling. Opponents are scoring 14.6 fast break points per game, good for 29th in the NBA. The 76ers have been efficient at stopping isolation plays while limiting damage in the paint. Embiid’s large and mobile frame has been the backbone of their rim protection, but the perimeter defenders need to be better. If defensive specialist Matisse Thybulle (1.7 SPG) can limit Harden and Durant on the perimeter, the 76ers can come away with a win.

Thybulle is limited on offense, which the Nets may exploit in order to force the 76ers to shorten his playing time. Along with Embiid and Curry, the 76ers will need Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey to score 15+ points. Harris has been in a shooting slump the last 5 games with a shooting split of 38/20/89. However, Harris is a career 47/36/82 shooter and will regress to the mean eventually. Tyrese Maxey, meanwhile, has made a sophomore leap towards a stat line of 16.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 4.5 APG on 47/36/87 shooting. Maxey has been a reliable ball handler and scorer for the 76ers and will look to attack Harden and Mills on the perimeter.

Brooklyn Nets vs. Philadelphia 76ers Daily Fantasy Picks

The players that benefit the most from this matchup are Seth Curry, Tyrese Maxey, and Patty Mills. Curry has scorched the Nets and will get open shots due to the attention Embiid demands in the paint. While he is not shooting his career high, Curry still checks in 41.1 3PT%. He has the confidence and the approval to shoot as much as he wants, which bodes well for his fantasy outlook. Maxey has been a solid fantasy performer and should seek an uptick from his usual numbers in this matchup.

While Harden is a good interior and post defender, he is not the best perimeter defender. Mills, also, is no defensive stopper. Maxey should be able to penetrate the paint and produce points or open looks for shooters like Curry. The 76ers are 1st in transition offense (1.22 Points Per Possession) and the Nets are tied-20th at defending transition plays (0.81 Points Per Possession). Look for Maxey to get a few easy fast break points in addition to his other shots. On the Nets side, Mills will benefit from Durant’s return. While Durant will take touches away from Mills, Mills will have less defensive attention. He will get open looks and command units when Harden sits. 

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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