Portland Trail Blazers vs. Philadelphia 76ers 8/9/20: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Philadelphia 76ers Matchup Preview
NBA action at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando continues as the Portland Trail Blazers (32-39) take on the Philadelphia 76ers (42-27). The Trail Blazers are coming off of a loss yesterday against the Los Angeles Clippers in a game where Damian Lillard missed two critical free-throws down the stretch. The loss put the Trail Blazers back 1.5 games of the Memphis Grizzlies for the 8th seed in the Western Conference. Losing a close game to a quality team is a tough pill to swallow, especially when you are fighting to get in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the 76ers are coming off a win on Friday against the Orlando Magic in the team’s first game without star point guard Ben Simmons. Simmons suffered a knee injury in Philadelphia’s win over the Wizards on Wednesday, and it was announced on Saturday that he would have to leave the bubble to get surgery on his knee. This is not good news for the Sixers, as Simmons’ timetable to return is currently up in the air. There is a good chance that Simmons will miss some time during the playoffs, which would not bode well for Philadelphia. They would likely have to face the Celtics unless they can improve their standing from the 6th seed before the end of seeding games. With that being said, both of these teams would love to come out victorious tonight.
Time: 6:30 PM ET
Arena: HP Field House, Orlando, FL
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76ers Starting 5
After the 76ers beat the Wizards on Wednesday, there was not much optimism surrounding this team. They had just lost their star point guard to a knee injury, and the Sixers didn’t look too impressive overall in that game. I wrote a preview for the Magic/Sixers game and thought that it really could’ve gone either way. However, the Sixers prevailed and had some encouraging play from a few players. Tobias Harris, Al Horford, and Joel Embiid all poured in 21+ points while Alec Burks poured in 22 points off the bench. There was a solid effort from players all around, except for Philadelphia’s starting backcourt. Shake Milton and Josh Richardson combined for 11 points against the Magic, which is not what you want to see out of your starters. Especially considering that the 76ers could be without Ben Simmons for an extended period, those two are going to need to step up and produce more for the Sixers. The Blazers’ backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum is one of the best offensive backcourts in the NBA, with the pair putting up a combined 46.8 points per game. Without Simmons on the floor to help guard them, the Sixers will need maximum effort from their guards to slow down Lillard and McCollum.
Trail Blazers Starting 5
Trail Blazers Analysis
The Trail Blazers have had an up-and-down beginning to the league restart. The team is 2-2 with wins over the Rockets and Nuggets and losses to the Celtics and Clippers. Portland lost to Los Angeles by five yesterday in a very disappointing fashion. The Blazers were down by one with 18 seconds to play, and Damian Lillard drew a foul. He missed both free throws, and the Blazers inevitably lost the game. For a team fighting to make the playoffs in a crowded battle for the 8th seed, a loss like this is devastating. Portland needs to shake off this loss and focus on the task at hand, that being the Philadelphia 76ers. Unlike many other teams in the league, Portland does have the size to match up with the 76ers. The team plays Joel Embiid and Al Horford simultaneously, which can be a matchup problem for many teams. However, with Jusuf Nurkic, Hassan Whiteside, and Zach Collins on the roster, I believe that head coach Terry Stotts will be able to create a lineup to match up with Philadelphia. The combination of the play from their big men and their star backcourt could be enough to beat the 76ers. Both teams would like to get a W tonight, and I think this will be an exciting matchup to watch.
Trail Blazers vs 76ers Fantasy Basketball Angle
The player that I will be highlighting for the daily fantasy angle is Damian Lillard. The guy is coming off of a game where he missed two free throws to lose to the game for Portland, which is not something we are accustomed to seeing. Lillard generally comes up clutch in the biggest moments, and it was strange to see him struggle under pressure. I feel that Lillard will be extra motivated following the tough loss and will come out firing against the Sixers. He also has a favorable matchup guarding him against Shake Milton. The combination of yesterday’s brutal loss and matchup makes me believe that Dame is in store for a big game against Philadelphia. Let’s also not forget that the guy is averaging 29.1 points per game this season. If you have him on your fantasy team, give Dame D.O.L.L.A. the start.
Trail Blazers vs 76ers Betting Odds
76ers Odds: +145
Trail Blazers Odds: =155
The oddsmakers have favored the Blazers in this game, but I could see this going either way. Despite having a negative record, Portland is a team that can play with nearly anybody thanks to the star power in their offense. The Sixers will be without one of their best players in Ben Simmons as well for the foreseeable future. I think that the Trail Blazers have a great shot at winning this game and narrowing the Grizzlies’ lead on the 8th seed. At the same time, Philadelphia is still a playoff team and a worthy opponent even without Simmons on the floor. It’s an awfully hard game to pick, but if I were a betting man, I’d go with Portland.
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