Joel Embiid and the 76ers take on the Brooklyn Nets Saturday night. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)
- The Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers matchup on February 6th
- Kevin Durant is unlikely to be available through health and safety protocols
- Check the odds, analysis and betting preview below
The Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers meet for the second time this season on February 6th. Brooklyn is on the second night of a back-to-back after losing to the Raptors on Friday, and is expected to be without Kevin Durant (health and safety protocols). Ben Simmons (calf) and Joel Embiid (knee) are considered day-to-day, but it’s reasonable to expect both to play.
Philly is three-point favorites this matchup between two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
Brooklyn Nets vs Philadelphia 76ers Odds
|Brooklyn Nets||+3 (-110)||+123||Over 237.5 (-110)|
|Philadelphia 76ers||-3 (-110)||-143||Under 237.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Feb 6 from DraftKings.
The Sixers are among the NBA’s bigger teams, even after swapping Al Horford for Seth Curry. Their size is an important part of the way they play on both ends. Brooklyn, particularly if Kevin Durant sits out, are almost the polar opposite. They play significant minutes with Jeff Green at the five. If Durant is unavailable, their offense will be almost entirely run through James Harden and Kyrie Irving.
Philly’s defense can be great, but the perimeter is their weakness. Seth Curry, if he recovers from illness to play in this one, will be attacked by Irving and Harden. Ben Simmons will spend a lot of time on Harden, and Joel Embiid will protect the rim, but leaving Curry on Irving and potentially having Tobias Harris chasing shooters around the perimeter is less than ideal.
The difficult matchups are apparent on the other end, too. Green cannot guard Embiid. DeAndre Jordan probably can’t either, but he at least has the size.
Sixers Impose Themselves
The Nets’ small-ball lineups are very vulnerable against this Sixers team – only the Mavericks have a worse defensive rating than Brooklyn over the last 10 games. They rank dead last in opponent paint points over that span. The Sixers are fourth in the NBA in fastbreak points, and Pascal Siakam used his size and length to dominate Brooklyn on Friday on his way to 33 points.
If Siakam is causing problems out of the post, the Nets are not going to have much fun against Joel Embiid. Embiid is sixth in the NBA in true scoring percentage, and he’s coming off a spectacular performance in Thursday’s loss to Portland, including a 25-point quarter.
The Cameroonian star is third in the NBA in points per game. Of players with two or more post ups per game, Embiid ranks fourth in percentage of post ups which end in a shooting foul. Only two players are scoring more efficiently out of such possessions.
Brooklyn ranks second-worst in the NBA at defending the post-up at 1.07 points per possession. The combination of giving up fastbreak points (which Simmons ranks among the best players in the league at) and struggling to defend the post is worrying for the Nets.
Philly’s Game To Win
The Sixers are coming off their worst game of the season, getting blown out by the heavily depleted Portland Trail Blazers. They should be back at close to full strength for this matchup, however, and they have the advantage of coming into this one after a night off.
Per @Sportradar and @Schragz, Embiid’s 25 second-quarter points tie Andrew Toney’s franchise record for most in a single quarter.
Tony scored 25 in the fourth quarter on 3/21/82 against Boston.#NBAAllStar
— Sixers Stats (@SixersStats) February 5, 2021
The chaos surrounding Durant obviously made Friday’s game trickier for Brooklyn. Once again, though, the same issues surfaced. The defense was poor. Siakam was able to get what he wanted out of the post.
Harden and Irving are going to get even more shots with Durant sidelined. Both could be in for big nights, but in Simmons, the Sixers have one of the best possible defenders to throw at Harden. Brooklyn have no answer for Embiid, which will force them to double aggressively. The Sixers will get a lot of open shots as a result – if Philly shoots it better than they did against the Blazers, this is their game to win.
Pick: Philadelphia 76ers Moneyline (-143)
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.