The Philadelphia 76ers are in New Orleans tonight to take on the Pelicans, looking to win their third straight game. The Sixers are coming off a 44-point win over the Lakers on Monday night, having handed LeBron James and company the worst defeat of his 20-year career. The Pelicans will be looking to right the ship after losing to the Jazz, 114 – 112 on Monday night.
Sixers vs Pelicans game info
Who: Philadelphia 76ers (12-5) at New Orleans Pelicans (9-9)
When: 8:00 pm EST
Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans La.
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBA League Pass, Bally’s Sports South
Sixers vs Pelicans betting info
Spread: Sixers -2 | Pelicans +2
Moneyline: Sixers -135 | Pelicans +120
Total: Over/Under 231.5
What to look for from the Sixers
The Sixers are heading into New Orleans on the heels of an absolute demolition of LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, having handed James and company the worst loss of his storied career. Guard Tyrese Maxey led the team with 31 points but Joel Embiid had a triple-double scoring 30 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 11 assists, having only played 31 minutes in the game.
The duo of Embiid and Maxey started off the season surprising everyone with their play having bought into new Head Coach Nick Nurse’s system. There should be a little bit of falloff and that’s not happening. As they play more together, Embiid and Maxey are becoming one of the most dynamic, if not the most dynamic duo in the league. James and Anthony Davis came to Philly on Monday, having staked their own claim to that title this season, only to watch the Sixers hold them to 35 points combined.
This Sixers team is what the owners, management, and fans have envisioned for the last few years. They didn’t have to go star searching as Maxey was drafted and brought up locally. He’s become one of the big young stars in the league this season. Embiid, for his part, is having another career year. He’s currently leading the league in scoring, he’s 5th in rebounds, and, astonishingly, he’s 11th in the league in assists. He’s playing better than he has before and it’s helping the whole team.
The Sixers have a deep and well-rounded squad this season and when players like Tobias Harris and DeAnthony Melton don’t have very good games, as they combined for 17 points against the Lakers, players like Pat Beverly and Marcus Morris are stepping up. The latter combined for 28 points and 7 rebounds against the Lakers.
The team is playing like a team having players step up when others aren’t having great games. The problem most nights is that the two stars, Embiid and Maxey, don’t seem to have bad games. Even if they’re not scoring, they’re contributing in other ways. What’s been happening though is that there aren’t games that the duo aren’t scoring, it’s up to other teams to figure out how to limit the damage they’re doing away from the ball.
What to look for from the Pelicans
The Pelicans are at home after losing to the Utah Jazz 114-112 on Monday night as the Pelicans couldn’t convert at the end of the game, missing their last three shots and allowing the Jazz to escape with a victory. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram have been leading the way this season for the, currently, 9th place in the Western Conference, Pelicans.
The Pelicans are a physical team and they have seven players averaging more than 10 points per game. The leaders are Williamson and Ingram who are averaging 23.4 and 24.6 points per game. Guard CJ McCollum is averaging 21.7 points per game, the problem is that he’s only played in 6 games this year. McCollum is a game-time decision tonight.
The Pelicans need to get open looks for their players and utilize ball movement, something that won’t be easy against a good Sixers defense. While they have Williamson, who’s a handful for anyone, the Pelicans also have Jonas Valanciunas at center, who at 6’11” 265 lbs., has the size to work on Embiid in the low post. There just won’t be much space for them to go as the Sixers defense has been getting better as the season goes on.
What to watch for tonight
The Sixers will be looking to have themselves a good, old-fashioned, Mardi Gras in New Orleans and feed off their demolition of the Lakers. In prior years, the Sixers would be expected to have a down game after such an exciting on previously but this season, this team is different.
This years combination of Maxey and Embiid has just been too much for most opponents and even in their losses, they’ve performed well. They’re the top duo in the league and it shouldn’t be much of an argument as they’re both currently top ten in scoring and in the top eleven in assists. They’re as close to unstoppable as the Sixers fans have seen in a duo in years.
What the Sixers need is continued growth and performance from their bench and secondary players. Tobias Harris and DeAnthony Melton shouldn’t have games like they did against the Lakers and players like Beverly, Reed, Morris, and Robert Covington are going to have to make life miserable on the defensive end for the Pelicans players.
The Sixers are riding high after Mondays victory and should be looking to do similar damage to the Pelicans as they’re coming together as a team. They’re deep, they’re rotational players, especially the newly acquired ones, are now better acclimated to Nurse’s system and it’s showing. They’ll be putting on their own version of “Showtime” in New Orleans.
Sixers 127 – Pelicans 111
AP Photo/Adam Hunger