Nuggets-76ers: Jokic Vs. Embiid & Philly Debut Of Tobias Harris

Friday, February 8, 2019 11:55 AM UTC

Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 11:55 AM UTC

There are story lines galore for Friday’s ESPN matchup between Denver and Philadelphia, but none better than Nikola Jokic facing off against All-Star counterpart Joel Embiid (at least we hope so this time).

Denver (37-17, 29-25 ATS) at Philadelphia (34-20, 25-29 ATS)Friday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)Free NBA Pick: 76ers ATSBest Line Offered: BetOnline

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3569569, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,999991,93,169,238], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

It’s an early-starting ESPN doubleheader in the NBA on Friday as it tips off between the Nuggets and 76ers from Philadelphia at 7 p.m. ET. Denver goes for the season sweep as it easily handled the visiting Sixers 126-110 on Jan. 26. All-Star center Nikola Jokic dominated with 32 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists. It was easy pickings for him because Philly All-Star center Joel Embiid got the night off – and so did Jimmy Butler. Neither Jokic nor Embiid better get a DNP-CD for this one! This is a matchup of the two best centers in the league, albeit very different styles.

Jokic vs. Embiid is just one story line Friday. There’s the fact the Nuggets and 76ers might be the second-best teams in their respective conferences. I’m not sure anyone thinks Denver is better than Golden State in the West. Philadelphia you could probably rank anywhere from No. 1-4 in the East. The Sixers got better for sure Wednesday with the acquisition of the Clippers’ best all-around player, forward Tobias Harris. (Philly also traded Markelle Fultz to Orlando on Thursday, but he wasn't playing regardless.)

The good news: Philadelphia already was the only team in the NBA to have four guys averaging at least 17 points per game. Now they have five, and probably the best starting five west of Oakland in Ben Simmons, Butler, JJ Redick, Harris and Embiid. The bad: Philly’s already-awful depth got worse as they had to include promising rookie Landry Shamet and forwards Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala – not to mention two first-round picks – in the Harris deal. The 76ers are going to be way over the cap next season if they re-sign Butler, Harris and Redick, all set for free agency.

At Bovada, Philadelphia is +360 to win the East, and Denver +1100 in the West.

[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "

Tobias Harris isn't a huge name, but make no mistake: This is a HUGE addition for Philadelphia. Harris is still just 26 years old and he's having a career-year, averaging 20.7 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 2.7 APG, 2.0 threes, while shooting 49.3% from the field and 42.2% from three-point range. pic.twitter.com/XkG1g9KiYv

— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 6, 2019
\n\n"}[/]

Bet Nuggets Or Sixers ATS?

Perhaps the Sixers’ brass was pushed to make the Harris deal after watching their team be largely dominated at home by Toronto on Tuesday, 119-107. Embiid was great with 37 points and 13 rebounds, Simmons very good with 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and Butler just so-so with 18 points.

With Redick sitting out due to illness, the Sixers just didn’t have anyone else. Both Muscala and Shamet started on Tuesday. Chandler would have but is injured. The 76ers did land Mike Scott and Boban Marjanovic in the Harris deal and both should immediately enter the rotation as reserves – all three new guys should debut Friday.

Denver started a four-game road trip Saturday with a one-point victory in Minnesota for a sixth straight win came out mega-flat Monday in Detroit and was routed and then lost 135-130 in Brooklyn on Wednesday despite the 10th triple-double of the season for Jokic (25 points, 14 rebounds 10 assists). The Nugs were short-handed again as Gary Harris (groin) missed his fourth consecutive game and Paul Millsap (ankle) his second straight. On the bright side, Jamal Murray returned after missing the past six (ankle) and had 19 points and 11 assists.

The Nuggets are one of the better defensive teams in the NBA and allowed more than 110 points just once during the six-game winning streak but have been a sieve in the past two games. Guys might be hitting the wall ahead of the All-Star break.

  • Nuggets are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
  • 76ers are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games following a straight up loss.
  • 76ers are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games following a straight up loss of more than 10 points.

The Nuggets are 15-29 all-time in Philly and lost there last year by 19. Denver is also just 1-6 ATS in its past seven on the road. The Sixers should be jacked with Harris’ debut … and the fans will be in a frenzy as the franchise will retire the No. 2 of the player who led them to their last championship, Moses Malone. Bet Philadelphia against the spread.

comment here