The Philadelphia 76ers test the streaking Golden State Warriors on Thursday night at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
The Philadelphia 76ers got Jimmy Butler back after missing three games with a sprained wrist and the team celebrated his return with a 121-105 romp of the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night. With the win Philly improved to 33-18 on the season and the team kept their spot as the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference.
Joel Embiid has been the man for the Sixers. Embiid leads the league with 34 games of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds and is averaging 27.2 points, 13.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.9 blocks per game this season. Butler has been a key addition with his defense and shot making abilities. He is averaging 19.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game while Ben Simmons is putting up 16.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game.
The Sixers are ranked 4th in team scoring at 115.7 points per game. Philadelphia is also 2nd in the league in assists at 27.6 dimes per contest and they are 4th in rebounding at 47.4 boards per game. If there’s a main weakness this season, it’s in defense as the 76ers are allowing 112.1 points per game, 9th most in the entire NBA.
The Golden State Warriors have always boasted of having four All-Star players as starters. Now the team has even become more formidable with DeMarcus Cousins returning from a year long achilles injury. Cousins has seen his minutes being restricted so far but that has not stopped Boogie from averaging 15.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. With Cousins in the line-up, the Warriors are so far 5-0 and have won 11 straight games overall.
Stephen Curry is averaging 29.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game this season. Chef Curry is cooking from the three ball with 5.2 three point makes per game at a very high .451 accuracy. Kevin Durant is also having a great season with 27.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. Klay Thompson is the third 20-point scorer in the team with his 21.7 points per game scoring average.
The Dubs have reclaimed their throne as the Top offensive machine in the NBA. Golden State leads the league in scoring and passing at 119.1 points and 29.3 assists per game. The Warriors are also 8th in rebounding at 46.8 boards per contest and if there’s one thing they have to improve on, it’s their defense as they only rank 20th in scoring defense at 111.8 points per game allowed.
The Sixers are 6-4 SU in their last 10 games played including 3-2 SU in five road games during that span. The Warriors are an undefeated 10-0 SU in their last 10 games including three straight home wins over that period. Head to head, the Warriors have won the last 10 meetings against the Sixers.
The SIxers have played well this season but have not reached their full potential yet, given the talent on the squad. Philly has not had a winning streak as long as the Dubs’ current 11-game winning run and the Sixers are just 6-4 in their last 10 games played. Still, Philadelphia is a formidable foe and this game could easily be the preview of the 2019 NBA Finals.
The Sixers showed their versatility when Brett Brown toyed with his lineup against the Lakers, letting Butler play the point and moving Ben Simmons up front as a stretch four. With Butler and Wilson Chandler healthy, the Sixers started both along with Embiid, Simmons and J.J. Redick for only the 21st time this season. The Sixers are 15-6 in those games.
As for Golden State, they are only starting to realize how near-invincible they can be with Cousins finally suiting up. Golden State has never had a player with Boogie’s skill set during any of their title runs. With Cousins providing inside presence, Golden State has looked nearly unstoppable so far. Cousins should have a good matchup with Embiid here but in the end, the home team simply has too much firepower for the Sixers. I’m picking the Golden State Warriors to keep on rolling and beat the Philadelphia 76ers on 1/31/19.
Philadelphia is 4-6 ATS in their last 10 games played. The Sixers are 2-3 ATS in their last five road games. Golden State is 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 games played including 2-0-1 ATS in three home games during that period. Head to head, the Dubs are 6-4 ATS in their last 10 games versus the 76ers.
The Sixers are 1-5 ATS in their last six games after a straight up win of more than 10 points, 1-4 ATS in their last five games after an ATS win and 4-13 in their last 17 games on the road against teams with a home winning percentage of over .600. The Warriors are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six games when their opponent allowed 100 or more points in their previous game, 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games following a straight up win and 5-0 ATS in their last five games against opponents with a winning straight up record. The Sixers have struggled on the road against elite teams. The Warriors have been winning against anybody as of late. Prediction: Warriors -9
The over is 28-23 in Philadelphia’s season and the Sixers have seen the total go over is 13 out of 25 road games played this season. The total has gone over in seven out of the last 10 games played by the Warriors. The total has gone over in two out of the three home games played by Golden State. Head to head, the over is 2-1 in the last three meetings between these two teams.
The over is 7-2 in the Warriors last nine games played and this one should be no different. These are two of the top scoring teams in the league and given that this could realistically be a preview of the 2019 NBA Finals, I expect both teams to be pumped up for this contest. With plenty of All-Star presence on both sides, I think we’ll see some outstanding individual performances from both teams in a game where defense won’t matter much. Prediction: Over 240.5