The New York Knicks are livid after a late-game call went against them on Monday in Brooklyn in what turned out to be just a five-point loss, and they’ll be looking to take out their frustration on the Sixers in Philadelphia. The problem? Beating the Sixers in Philly has been a tall ask, and the Sixers themselves ride in on a five-game trot.
Will Tobias Harris continue to fill up the stat sheet in Joel Embiid’s absence, or can the stout defense of the Knicks find an edge in this game with Philly playing at less than full strength? We’ll tell you where to look at SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks.
New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Tuesday, March 16, 2021 – 8:00 PM ET at Wells Fargo Center
Leaning on the Youth
The Knicks have been getting meaningful contributions this season from their youngsters, but the youth movement going on in New York has been especially apparent of late.
Just two nights ago in a win over the Thunder, 20-year-old RJ Barrett led the team with a career-high 32 points. In Monday’s loss to the Nets, rookie Immanuel Quickley
made his first start at point guard, a position for the Knicks which has been ravaged by injury, and he turned in 21 points in 33 minutes. The bottom line? The Knicks have some young studs worth talking about, and before they’ve even hit the legal drinking age, they’ve become vital parts of Tom Thibodeau’s rotation.
Quickley, himself, adds another gear to the Knicks’ attack on offense. When he’s been on the floor this season in 709 minutes, the Knicks have scored 109.3 points per 100 possessions, compared to 107.3 in the 1,211 with him off the floor. That’s a difference of two points on offense, and the team’s pace has increased as well by about half a possession. With the Kentucky product likely getting another start on Tuesday, the Knicks’ offense will be putting its best foot forward.
Overall, the Knicks have been pretty good to the bettors who have chosen to believe in them. They’ve covered the NBA spreads in six of their last eight games, and have gone 9-7 as the underdog on the road, as they are here. There’s the issue of rest, though, which the Knicks will have none of entering the second night of a back-to-back. In this spot, they’re 4-4 ATS, but they have covered in their last two tries. Thibodeau is notorious for overworking his players and disappointing on the second night of back-to-backs, but the Knicks have managed to be okay thus far.
Life Without Jo
I’d say the Sixers are adjusting to life without Joel Embiid, but they’re used to it. The bigman has often been injured in his time with Philadelphia, and he has missed eight games thus far in 2021. In their first game since Embiid went down with a knee injury, which will keep him out two weeks, the Sixers blew the doors off the Spurs, 134-99.
Tobias Harris led the way with 23 points, and the team shot a cool 51.7% from the three-point range. While expectations should be tempered entering a matchup against the league’s top three-point defense, that win gave us a chance to see how the Sixers can win without Embiid.
Threes are always going to be key. With Embiid off the floor this season, the Sixers have shot 2.1 more three-pointers per 100 possessions and have converted on just 33.4% of them, a testament to the volume of threes that they’re taking. The team as a whole has suffered greatly on the offensive end, scoring 12.1 fewer points per 100 possessions, though there’s been a slight 2.3 point difference on defense.
So, will the Sixers be able to keep up the shooting against one of the league’s best perimeter defense? It’s anyone’s guess, but the Sixers’ record at home is more of a sure thing. Philly is 14-6 ATS at home this season and has looked unstoppable at times at the Wells Fargo Center.
It’s going to require a deep breath, but I’m going to have to fade the Sixers at home with my free NBA picks. It’s unlikely they shoot as well as they did on Monday from three, not only due to the law of averages but also because of the defense they’re up against. The Knicks’ offense, meanwhile, should continue to thrive with Quickley in the starting lineup.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.