76ers Continue Rolling Without Embiid + A Pick For NBA Most Improved Player

76ers Continue Rolling Without Embiid + A Pick For NBA Most Improved Player

76ers Atlantic Division Betting

Welcome back to our weekly Sixers coverage. Last week, we discussed how the Sixers should be okay while Embiid is out. As it turns out, they’ve been pretty good thus far (6-1 without Embiid).

Though the Sixers haven’t exactly been blowing the doors off their opponents, a win is a win (and 10-1 in their last 11 is amazing).

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Kings vs 76ers

Last Saturday, the Sixers hosted the Kings in their fourth and final home game of a four-game homestand. Once again, the Sixers used their superior defense and rebounding (+17) to put pressure on their opponent throughout the game.

It also helps the Sixers shot very well (56% from the field and 48% from deep). The Sixers were again able to limit their turnovers (10) and dominate in fast-break points (+10). We also got our wish and got plenty of minutes from Matisse Thybulle (32).

Thybulle was incredible on defense, as expected, and put up eight points, seven rebounds, a block, and a steal. Thybulle was one of the keys to keeping this game from becoming a shootout. For all the criticism of his lack of offense, if he can do what he does on the defensive end, it’s probably worth it (especially considering the supporting cast around him).

At one point in this game, the Sixers led by as much as 36. It was never really competitive in the end, and the Sixers ended up winning a truly lopsided contest.

76ers vs New York Knicks

Less than a day after the Sixers clobbered the Kings, they were on the road to New York to face the Knicks. The Knicks were coming off a narrow victory over the lowly Magic and had just lost a close contest with the Sixers in Philadelphia less than a week ago.

Alec Burks and RJ Barrett were a problem for the Sixers, as they combined for 39 points, going 17 for 34 from the field. In the end, the Sixers were able to snatch the victory, thanks to Tobias Harris’ clutch free throws with five seconds left in overtime.

Sensing the need for more offense in this one, Doc Rivers opted to go with Furkan Korkmaz over Matisse in the starting lineup. Shake Milton was huge off the bench, going 9 for 15 with 21 points, but the key to the Sixers victory was winning the “points off turnovers” battle.

Despite committing 20 turnovers, the Sixers limited the Knicks to only 15 points off them. Conversely, the Knicks committed 17 turnovers but allowed 21 points off them. Aside from that, the game was tightly contested throughout. Both teams shot over 44% from three and accounted for 44 rebounds each. It was kind of an old-school battle, but a significant result for the Sixers, as the victory pushed their win streak over the Knicks to 15 games.

76ers vs Golden State

Tuesday was an ideal time to face the Warriors in San Francisco. Their best offensive presence with Steph out was Kelly Oubre Jr. That says about all you need to know. The Sixers were cruising early in this game, up 35-11 at one point in the first quarter. In the third quarter, the Warriors went on a 32-14 run to briefly take the lead, before the Sixers grabbed control with just under four minutes to go in the game.

Despite the huge blown lead, the Warriors had no answers late, as their hot shooting lasted just over a quarter, before plummeting back to earth down the stretch. Once again, Tobias Harris carried the torch for the offense, while also posting a team-high 13 rebounds and four assists.

One unfortunate trend in this game for the Sixers was how bad the second unit was as a whole. When on the floor, the second unit was averaging a plus-minus of -10, while the starters averaged around +18. The Sixers didn’t shoot particularly well in this one, but they played good defense and dominated the boards (+13). That was enough to give them the room they needed to safely close the game out.

76ers vs Los Angeles Lakers

The Sixers definitely dodged a bullet with this schedule, especially given their last two games against the Warriors and Lakers (both missing all their stars). On Thursday, the Sixers made the trip south from San Francisco to Los Angeles to face the Lakers at the Staples Center.

Without the prospect of facing both AD and Lebron, the matchup was not at all threatening. This time around, it was Danny Green’s turn to light-up his former team, as Green had a team-high 28 points, going 9 for 14 from the field and 8 for 12 from three.

Good defense was again key for the Sixers here, as the Lakers were limited to 43% shooting from the field and 22 turnovers. The Sixers took a while to take the game over, but their +18 differential in the third quarter was enough to keep the Lakers just out of range down the final stretch.

Though Philadelphia let a 17-point fourth-quarter lead shrink to three points with just under a minute to go, the defense came up big in the end. Danny Green’s dagger (with thirty seconds remaining) was the cherry on top for Green’s night, which began with him receiving a Championship ring for his 2020 title with the Lakers.

Up next

This Saturday, the road gets very tough for the Sixers. They’ll face the Clippers, followed by the Nuggets on Tuesday and the Cavs on Thursday. Nobody expected the Sixers would play quite this well without Joel Embiid, but we’re certainly appreciating the ride.

The big question going forward is, “Will the Sixers have enough gas in the tank to hold off the Nets for the Atlantic division title?” If the Sixers can manage to somehow go 2-1 in this stretch this upcoming week, you have to like their odds to take the division.

Futures Awards Pick

Julius Randle -121 to win “Most Improved Player”

Can Julius Randle win the Most Improved Player award, where he is currently -121 on the BetRivers and the PlaySugarHouse.

If you haven’t been paying attention to the Knicks at all this season, you might want to give them your attention for a game or two. Since signing eight or nine forwards over the past couple of seasons, nobody expected it would lead to anything great.

However, Julius Randle has re-written his destiny with a fantastic campaign. It took seven years, but Julius Randle is now a legitimately good player in the league. This year, Randle has extended his range by evolving his three-point stroke, doubling his output from last season. He’s hitting at career-highs from the line, PPG, rebounds, assists, and steals.

Randle went from “known commodity” to a borderline All-Star caliber player since the move to the Knicks. He’s currently the frontrunner for the award, with only Jerami Grant (+105) as his closest competition.

Though Grant may be more of the traditional representative of this award, the Pistons are going nowhere, while the Knicks are on course for a playoff spot. I think Randle’s impact is much greater and his evolution more fascinating, so the value is there with Randle.