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Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid elevates for a dunk. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)
March 10th, 2022
We won’t blame you for rolling your eyes whenever anyone describes an NBA game in early March as "must-see TV," but that’s precisely what viewers can expect tonight at Wells Fargo Center when the Philadelphia 76ers host the Brooklyn Nets.
The two teams were involved in a blockbuster trade on Feb. 10 that sent James Harden and Paul Millsap to the City of Brotherly Love in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and a 2027 first round draft pick.
The Sixers have since won all five games that Harden has appeared in, outscoring opponents by 14.6 points per contest during that span. The Nets, meanwhile, have gone a more pedestrian 4-6, and are still weeks away from incorporating Simmons into their lineup as he deals with lingering back soreness.
The three-time All-Star will be on the sidelines this evening, and is likely to shoulder the full brunt of fans’ displeasure, particularly in light of a new revelation that Simmons intends to file a grievance against the 76ers for withholding his paychecks prior to the trade.
That struggle will unfold in a court, but tonight we’re far more interested in what will happen on it. We’ve examined the matchup between the Nets and 76ers closely, and have the three best player prop bets below.
There aren’t many players capable of scoring 50 points in a basketball game, yet alone against the best competition in the world. There are fewer still who have done it four times. Kyrie Irving joined that select club on Tuesday when he erupted for 50 points on just 19 shots to achieve an absolutely bonkers 101.3% true shooting percentage. It was the most coolly efficient 50-piece in NBA history, and it serves as a testament to how lethal Irving can be when he’s at the top of his game.
KYRIE IRVING 🔥50 POINTS on 19 SHOTSpic.twitter.com/lYyrmM2nsH— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) March 9, 2022
KYRIE IRVING 🔥50 POINTS on 19 SHOTSpic.twitter.com/lYyrmM2nsH
So, what can we expect from the Nets’ enigmatic point guard tonight? It helps to revisit to his last 50-point game on Oct. 23, 2019 against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Irving suited up again two nights later and went off for 26 points against the New York Knicks. It’s hardly surprising that his productivity dipped, but it’s worth noting that he still topped his scoring average by more than two points.
Bettors should also consider the fact that Irving has been en fuego lately. The seven-time All-Star is averaging 32.3 points in his last six games, and has comfortably surpassed tonight’s projected total five times in that span. Add it all up and you have the makings of another offensive outburst this evening. Grab some popcorn and enjoy the show!
Few players have benefited more from Harden’s arrival than Tyrese Maxey. The sophomore guard’s scoring average has jumped from 16.9 to 23.5 points per game in large part because of the ridiculous amount of attention "The Beard" attracts on offense.
Tyrese Maxey clearly paying attention when James Harden is working at practice 👀👀👀 pic.twitter.com/O7YXpkgLtr— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 3, 2022
Tyrese Maxey clearly paying attention when James Harden is working at practice 👀👀👀 pic.twitter.com/O7YXpkgLtr
Many of those buckets are coming on wide-open threes, as Maxey has attempted – and made – nearly twice as many treys per game in his last six outings. That’s not a coincidence, and it’s also not going to change tonight as Maxey continues to feast on Harden’s plentiful drive-and-kicks.
We’re big believers in Joel Embiid. If you told us "JoJo" could dunk from half court or cure world hunger, we’d buy in to your slightly overbaked claims. However, there’s something about tonight’s projected rebound total of 12.5 that seems a little incredulous.
For starters, Embiid is averaging just 11.2 rebounds per game this season, and has gone Under tonight’s total in 62% of his games. He’s also gone Under this total in four of his last six games. "The Process" will still surpass expectations tonight, he just won’t surpass 12.5 boards.
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