76ers On A Roll Since All-Star Break; A Betting Pick For Defensive Player Of The Year

76ers On A Roll Since All-Star Break; A Betting Pick For Defensive Player Of The Year

76ers all star recap

Welcome back to our weekly Sixers coverage. Last week, we covered the Embiid injury and the wins over the Bulls and Wizards. Since then, the Sixers have gone 2-1 and looked pretty solid, even with Embiid out with his hyperextended knee. The big news is, the Sixers are 4-1 since the All-Star break and haven’t missed much of a step, even with Embiid out.

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Spurs vs 76ers

Sunday was the first full game without Joel Embiid. With so much fear and uncertainty looming, the Sixers put much of it to rest by the end of the first quarter. Philadelphia took control in the first quarter and never looked back.

Once again, the Sixers turned-in a stellar shooting performance (57% from the field and 52% from three). As expected, the Sixers dominated the boards (61-42) and managed to limit the turnovers (11). The Sixers finished +15 in assists and +14 on points in the paint.

It was a peak Sixers performance and the kind of game we’ve expected to see now for some time. Anytime Danny Green is actually making his shots from three (4-7 from deep in this game), the Sixers are hard to beat. The Sixers went 15-29 from three, in a game in which ten players got at least 13 minutes of playing time.

Conversely, the Spurs just decided they weren’t going to keep digging themselves deeper in the hole, as they only managed to make four threes in the game. I’m not sure what Popovich’s strategy was in this game, but everything just snowballed for the Spurs. Regardless, it was a bright start for the Sixers without Embiid.

Knicks vs 76ers

On Tuesday, the Sixers won a thriller against the Knicks. Prior to this year, that may be a slightly depressing sentence, but these Knicks are much different. Throughout the game, the Knicks seemed to have the edge. Their rebounding was solid, Reggie Bullock was hitting threes, and Taj Gibson was providing productive minutes off the bench.

Despite this, Seth Curry’s 28-footer gave the Sixers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish with just over five minutes to go in the fourth. The rub in this game was the points-off turnovers, as the Sixers were +11 there and +5 in blocks. Tobias Harris had another great game, going for 30 points and 4-6 from three.

Seth Curry added 20 points (4-7 from three), while Ben Simmons had a nice triple-double. The rest of the Sixers combined to go just 11 for 42 from the field. It wasn’t the bountiful, team effort we saw Sunday, but in a gritty game, we hope for the stars to show up, and that’s exactly what happened.

Bucks vs 76ers

Wednesday night was a big showdown with Milwaukee and the first real test without Joel Embiid. The game was a bit of a grind, as we expect anytime the Sixers face Giannis. There were a total of 135 rebounds in the game, which has to be the most I’ve seen in a regulation game in years.

As expected, the two-time, defending MVP was a little too much for the Sixers to handle. Giannis finished with 32 points and 15 rebounds, as the Bucks edged the Sixers in a tough one at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Despite winning the turnover battle and shooting 11% better from deep, the Sixers still came up short. It was really a tale of Milwaukee just being more aggressive in the paint. The Sixers only had eight free throw attempts for the game, while the Bucks managed to get to the line 24 times. It ended up being the difference in the game.

The loss against the Bucks was tough, but it shows this Sixers team is capable of hanging around with anyone, even with Embiid out. The depth of talent on the roster is more evident now than it was weeks ago, and the Sixers should still be in good shape when the big man makes his return.

This week

Next up for the Sixers is a home game tonight against the Kings, followed by a long, six-game road trip against four Western conference foes. After last week, it’s safe to say the sky isn’t falling and the Sixers should be okay with Embiid away.

Futures awards pick

For a look at our pick of the week, we take a look at the Defensive Player of the Year award, with odds from BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse.

Rudy Gobert -250 to win DPOY

A few weeks ago, this was looking a little dicey. However, with the inconsistent play of Myles Turner +600 and the ever-present health concerns of Ben Simmons +225, Gobert is almost certainly a lock for this award.

He’s a notable disruptor each game, and a guy who is widely acknowledged throughout each broadcast for his defense. It’s one thing to have a guy quietly making an impact, but another to have a guy playing this level of defense on a conference-leading team, it’s the clear and obvious choice.