Denver Nuggets at Philadelphia 76ers Preview
In an interconference matchup between two of the top teams in the NBA, the Philadelphia 76ers will host the Denver Nuggets tonight for the first time since making their trade deadline deal with the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for forward Tobias Harris among others.
The Nuggets enter tonight’s game on a two-game skid, however, they are 7-3 in their last 10. The Nuggets are second in the Western Conference with a 37-17 record. Philadelphia has slid down to fifth in the Eastern Conference, one-half game behind the Boston Celtics. The 76ers have also lost their last two, are 6-4 in their last 10 games and are 34-20 on the season.
In their first meeting of the season, the Nuggets won 126-110 in Denver behind a big game from all-star center Nikola Jokic. Jokic finished with 32 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists. J.J. Redick led Philadelphia with 22 points.
Joel Embiid sat out the first game, so tonight’s matchup will provide an opportunity to see two of the best centers in the league, Embiid, and Jokic, battle it out.
Time: 7:00pm ET
Arena: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup
The Denver Nuggets have struggled against their last two Eastern Conference opponents in losses against the Detroit Pistons and Brooklyn Nets, and they face the best team of the bunch tonight in Philadelphia.
In their 130-135 loss to the Nets on Wednesday night, the Nuggets started and ended strong, including a 43-point fourth quarter to try and rally back, but it wasn’t enough to overcome their scoring droughts and defensive lapses earlier in the game as they allowed seven Nets players to score in double figures, including D’Angelo Russell, who went off for 27 points.
Nikola Jokic had his tenth triple-double of the season with 25 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists. Mason Plumlee has been having a standout year in Denver and continued his hot play of late with 24 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots against the Nets in an effort Nuggets coach Michael Malone lauded.
“The guy was blocking shots on defense, running the floor and finishing around the basket. He was screening, rolling. What didn’t Mason Plumlee do to start the game,” Malone said after the game. “Literally, Mason was everywhere. Mason played hard. Mason cared. Mason left everything he had on the floor until he fouled out.”
With Paul Millsap questionable tonight, the Nuggets may need to turn to Plumlee again, especially against Philadelphia’s new front line that features Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid.
Philadelphia 76ers Starting Lineup
The Philadelphia 76ers have dropped their last two games against the Sacramento Kings and the Toronto Raptors, but they’ve improved since then via draft day trades which bring Tobias Harris, Mike Scott, Boban Marjanovic, Jonathon Simmons and James Ennis to the City of Brotherly Love.
Against Toronto, the 76ers dug themselves into a 12-point hole early and couldn’t recover in the 107-119 loss.
It didn’t stop Embiid from having another monstrous game though, as he finished with 37 points and 13 rebounds. The 76ers were undermanned, with only eight players, and with sharpshooter J.J. Redick out. Ben Simmons had 20 points and Jimmy Butler had 18 for Philadelphia, and Furkan Korkmaz came off the bench for 11 points.
Sixers coach Brett Brown said poor defense was to blame for the loss.
“It’s not who we are, it’s not how we play defense, it’s not anything that we’re about,” Brown said. “I give Toronto credit. They drove it down our throats. We didn’t respond.”
Denver Nuggets at Philadelphia 76ers Betting Odds
Philadelphia is a five-point favorite to win tonight’s game at home. They’ve been 21-6 at the Wells Fargo Center this season and are 27-10 as the favorite. The Nuggets are 14-13 on the road and 7-7 as the underdog.
The over/under is 229 points and Philadelphia is -190 on the moneyline after opening at -200.
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