We came up short last night in a very strange affair when we backed the Oklahoma City Thunder against the Golden State Warriors. This had revenge game written all over it as the Warriors had dropped the first two games to the Thunder this year, including a twenty-point thumping at home earlier this month. But, getting 9.5-points was far too good to pass up on, so I backed the Thunder in what I expected to be a tight game. Everything was going right to plan as the Thunder were leading 59-56 with just over seven minutes left in the third quarter. That’s when things got weird. Zaza Pachulia “fell” on Russell Westbrook in a very thinly veiled attempt to hurt the superstar.
Pachulia has a long history of trying to hurt other players, and this was just another attempt at doing just that. If you ask me this guy needs to be kicked out of the league. It was clearly intentional, and Westbrook was never the same after being shaken up. The Warriors took advantage of Westbrook being distracted and injured and finished the game on an epic run and took the game 112-80. You have to wonder how this game would have played out without this incident and maybe even question head coach Steve Kerr’s intentions when he placed Pachulia into the starting lineup before this game.
Either way, it was a very unsatisfying finish to what was an excellent game up to that point. Today I look at a matchup between two teams playing very well at the moment, when the Philadelphia 76ers play the Washington Wizards.
The Philadelphia 76ers take their longest winning streak since 2003 with them as they travel to the nation’s capital to face the Washington Wizards Sunday night. The Sixers have won seven straight games and find themselves moving up the standings in the Eastern Conference and are on the verge of a playoff appearance. For Washington, the Wizards have fared much better without star point guard John Wall than many people thought they would and the Wizards are currently occupying the four seed in the East. Washington is a -2-point favorites. The game total over-under is set at 213 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:00 PM PST from Capital One Arena.
The Philadelphia 76ers are enjoying a nice run of success over the last couple of weeks. And it has been great to see. The “process” in Philly is finally starting to produce some results, and I love this young core of talent they have with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. The Sixers have won seven straight games and are looking more and more like a playoff team every day.
But when you take a closer look at this winning streak, it looks slightly less impressive. Those seven straight wins? Six of them came at home. With the lone road win coming against a really bad Chicago Bulls team. Those six home wins? Wins against the Clippers, Knicks, Magic, New Orleans, and Miami. All five of those teams could very well miss the playoffs. So, yeah, it has been a nice stretch for Philly, winning seven straight is never easy in the NBA, but I am not ready to say this team has things completely turned around just yet.
To make matters worse tonight for Philly they are playing the back end of a back to back, on the road no less. The Sixers have this dirty little secret that Joel Embiid doesn’t like to play on the back to back nights. They claim the superstar big man will play tonight, but that would only be the third time all year he has played on back to back nights. So, it wouldn’t shock me if he sits, or at the very minimum, is very limited.
I do a ton of situational NBA betting. And this is a prime spot for a situational bet. The Sixers are riding high right now, but nothing kills momentum like back to backs on the road. Especially against a team that is better than you are. The Wizards are 8-3 without John Wall and losing the star point guard doesn’t seem to have slowed them down one bit.
This line opened at Washington -1.5-points, and the sharps quickly pushed it to -2-points. And understandably so. Philly just isn’t great on the road, and they are bad playing back to backs against a team that had the night off last night. I would expect this number to continue to move towards the Wizards as this is a great spot to back a home team at a good price.
I expect low minutes for Embiid and tired legs for the Sixers. Washington will win, and it should be fairly convincing. I don’t expect a blowout, but I could see Washington easily winning this one by double-digits. I love what Philly is doing right now, but they built this hot streak playing bad teams, at home, under optimal conditions. They won’t have any of that help tonight, and I see the winning streak coming to an end tonight in Washington. Give me the Washington Wizards -2-points tonight!