Ben Simmons and the 76ers will try to make it two straight wins without the injured Joel Embiid as they host the New York Knicks. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)
- 76ers battle Knicks, seeking second win in a row without injured Joel Embiid
- New York in second of tough back-to-back after losing to Nets on Monday
- Check the odds, analysis and betting preview below
The Philadelphia 76ers will try to keep the momentum going without injured MVP candidate Joel Embiid, when they host the New York Knicks Tuesday night.
New York is trying to salvage a split in a brutal back-to-back set against the two East leaders, after coming up short against the Brooklyn Nets Monday. They’re a 6-point road underdog in this one.
Knicks vs 76ers Odds
|New York Knicks||+6 (-108)||+210||Ov 216 (-110)|
|Philadelphia 76ers||-6 (-112)||-255||Un 216 (-110)|
Odds from FanDuel taken March 15. Tip-off is Tuesday at 8pm ET
The 76ers are trying to keep their slim top-seed lead over the Nets in the East, while the Knicks sit in seventh in the conference at 20-20, just 1.5 games back of fourth-place Miami.
So Far, So Good for Philly
After watching Joel Embiid’s painful hyperextension of his left leg, the bone bruise he suffered is about the best Philadelphia could have hoped for.
Joel Embiid went down after suffering an apparent leg injury.
He went back to the locker room. pic.twitter.com/Qd8IqC5Ric
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 13, 2021
Thankfully, the roster reshape by Daryl Morey and having Doc Rivers as head coach has the Sixers in the best position to do more than just hold the fort as they wait for the dominant big man to return in a couple of weeks.
Ben Simmons very animated tonight in his return! 💪🏻
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) March 15, 2021
A good example of that was on display Sunday night, as Philly eviscerated the San Antonio Spurs 134-99. They still have an all-star in Ben Simmons, who had 14 points and nine assists. But it’s his unique ability to impact a game without being a featured guy that could allow this roster to bloom.
Tobias Harris led the team in scoring with 23 points, nine rebounds and seven dimes, while Seth Curry chipped in with 21 points, four rebounds and four assists. Veteran Danny Green hit four threes en route to a 16-point outing, the fourth starter to score in double digits.
Tobias Harris (23 PTS, 9 REB, 7 AST) led the way in the Sixers’ big win 👏 pic.twitter.com/RWLPjWLT0w
— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 15, 2021
As for big man production, starter Tony Bradley and Dwight Howard combined for 12 points, 16 boards and six assists.
The Sixers are the fourth-highest scoring team in the NBA, and they back it up on the other end, allowing the 8th-fewest points per game on defense.
Knicks Don’t Make it Easy
You’d think a short-handed roster without rotation players Mitchell Robinson and Derrick Rose against a juggernaut like the Brooklyn Nets would yield gruesome results. But the Knicks had the ball with five seconds left with a chance to tie, after coming back from as many as 18 down in the second half.
Julius Randle was called for a travel down 3 and under 5 seconds remaining.
Nets hold on to beat the Knicks. pic.twitter.com/VssyVvtzOr
— ESPN (@espn) March 16, 2021
The Knicks are a reincarnation of the Memphis grit-and-grind. They allow the fewest points per game in the NBA at 105.3 a night, and are tied for the top field-goal shooting defense (44.3%) while holding opponents’ three-point shooting to a league-low 33.4%.
They could use some spacing and shooters on the other side, though. The Knicks are a woeful 28th in scoring. Against Brooklyn, they shot only 40.2% from the field, though they did nail 15 money balls at a 35.7% clip to stay in it.
There’s the RJ Barrett I know pic.twitter.com/sSG6ky5MnJ
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) March 16, 2021
Their offense is work in progress, with Julius Randle and RJ Barrett expected to create for a score or to set up teammates. Randle finished with 33 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, while Barrett went for 23, with six boards and four dimes. Immanuel Quickley, getting his first career start, had 21 points but struggled on 6-for-19 shooting.
What’s the Best Bet?
This will be the second of three meetings between these two, with Philly rolling to a 20-point win last time out. Embiid may be the epicenter of everything they do, but Philly isn’t a top-4 offense and top-8 defense just because of one player.
They’re an-East best 17-3 at home, and have an NBA-best 20-6 conference record.
Ben Simmons played some brilliant defense on Donovan Mitchell yesterday.
A quick look at Simmons’ defense in overtime: pic.twitter.com/DlVCVaAPmG
— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) March 4, 2021
Simmons will be a factor defensively, and can shut down either Randle or Barrett, throwing a real wrench in the Knicks’ offense. I’m still wary of the other end of the floor, where the Sixers were unconscious against the Spurs, shooting 57.1% from the field and 51.7% from deep. That’s not sustainable.
But against a Knicks team that emptied the tank in a comeback that came up short in BK, they’re still my play here.
The pick: 76ers -6 (-112)
Having worked in and around sports since 1997, Eric is truly a knowledgable expert. The two-time journalism grad specializes in all things NBA and NFL. From TSN.ca to CTV’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Eric’s work has appeared in local and national publications alike.