The Brooklyn Nets head on the road to Philadelphia following a 123-117 loss against the Toronto Raptors last night. It was a bizarre game that was all the talk online. Kevin Durant was originally held out of the game, then entered, and then finally removed during the game because of contact tracing. How the NBA messed that one up is anyone’s guess.
If he failed contract tracing protocols, then Durant shouldn’t have been out there to begin with. It’s a snafu that could have easily been avoided. The situation feels like a Roger Goodell error and not something Adam Silver’s organization would do, but people will have questions to answer regarding this. Naturally, Durant will be unavailable to play against the 76ers in Philadelphia tonight.
Losing Durant right before a marquee matchup against the 76ers hurts, no doubt. I’m sure the Sixers would like to prove that they are the better team versus a healthy Nets lineup, but at the same time, they have to like looking at the injury report and seeing Durant listed as OUT on Saturday. The 76ers will have opportunities in the future to show that they can beat the Big 3 of the Nets. For now, the Sixers still have a formidable opponent in front of them even Durant-less.
James Harden and Kyrie Irving are both expected to play regardless of Durant’s situation. Joe Harris has been playing well recently as well, so the 76ers cannot treat the Nets lightly despite the situation in the Brooklyn locker room right now. The Nets have little time to forget about the drama and turn their attention towards the 76ers, though. They are pressed into duty on Saturday against a Sixers team that believes they’re the best in the East.
The 76ers are coming off a 121-105 loss on Thursday against the Charlotte Hornets. They didn’t look like the best team in the conference in that one at all. In any case, that could have very well been a look ahead spot to this game. The 76ers were on a four-game winning streak, including a win over the Lakers, prior to their loss Thursday. Brooklyn has already beaten the Sixers this season without the Big 3. It was a poor showing on January 7, as the Nets ousted the 76ers by a score of 122-109. Head below for our free Nets vs. 76ers pick on February 6, 2021.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Philadelphia 76ers NBA Betting Odds:
Nets vs. 76ers Prediction:
The 76ers lead the Eastern Conference with a record of 16-7. The Milwaukee Bucks trail the 76ers by 1.5 games. The conference chase is an intriguing showdown between the Celtics, Nets, Bucks, and 76ers. Since the Nets acquired James Harden, all of the public love has been for them. Given what we’ve seen thus far from the Nets, I’m not completely sold on this team, though.
They have all of the offense a team could want, but they’re allowing the opposition to just walk in and score at will. At some point, Steve Nash is going to have to figure it out, preferably sooner rather than later. If the Nets’ front office doesn’t initiate a trade for defensive help, then the onus is going to be on Nash to do his best to put together better game plans defensively.
The Nets have conceded 118 points per game for 28th in the league. They aren’t the worst in the NBA, but the worst of the contenders. The Nets have been throttled for 129 points against in their previous five tilts. While the offense is most certainly better with Harden on the floor, the defense hasn’t looked any better. That’s not going to work in the postseason for the Nets. And on the road, the Nets have been embarrassed for 122.1 points per game.
After getting bullied by the Nets in their first meeting, expect the 76ers to be much more well-prepared on Saturday night. Look for Joel Embiid to have a field day on this defense. He should be able to do what he wants against DeAndre Jordan in the paint. On the other side of the floor, the 76ers should do enough to slow down the Durant-less Nets.
It’s hard to completely contain the Nets, but with their defense hemorrhaging points, just enough resistance can result in the 76ers pulling away. The 76ers are 11th in the NBA with 113.7 points conceded per game. I’m backing the 76ers in what I see as a 119-113 final score in favor of the home side in Philadelphia tonight.