Sixers vs Nuggets: How to watch, betting odds & predictions

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Sixers
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) goes to the basket against Washington Wizards center Daniel Gafford, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, in Washington. The 76ers won 131-126. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

The Philadelphia 76ers are finishing up their three game homestand against the defending NBA Champion Denver Nuggets as the Sixers look to close the gap between themselves, the Bucks, and Celtics in the Eastern Conference.

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Sixers vs Nuggets game info

Who: Denver Nuggets (28-13) at Philadelphia 76ers (25-13)
When: 7:30 pm EST
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia PA
Watch: TNT

Sixers vs Nuggets betting info

Spread: Sixers -3 | Nuggets +3
Moneyline: Sixers -148 | Nuggets +124
Total: Over/Under 228.5

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Latest on the Sixers

Joel Embiid returned to the Sixers lineup on Monday and went right back to his best, which isn’t normal for anyone else in the league. He led the team with 41 points and 10 rebounds in a win over the Rockets. Embiid will look to put on a show in a nationally televised game against the defending NBA champions and Nikola Jokic.

The team has been getting huge production out of forward Tobias Harris, who was averaging 22.5 points per game over his previous eight games, including just 5 in a game that he left early with injury. Harris returned to earth with just 10 points against the Rockets on 3-7 shooting. The team will need more from the versatile forward if they’re to beat the Nuggets.

Sixers
Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid goes up for a shot during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Friday, Jan. 5, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Tyrese Maxey had seemed to cool down over the past ten games from beyond the arc, shooting just 33% on his three-point attempts but over the past three games, Maxey has shot 48% on his attempts from deep. The Sixers will need more of that to stay with the Nuggets. Maxey has made a big name for himself this season and getting back into rhythm with Embiid will be better for him and the team moving forward after missing Embiid over the past two weeks.

The Sixers can hope that Pat Beverley continues to provide the veteran leadership and fire that he has for the season. Despite having a poor shooting game against the Rockets, Pat Bev still managed 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists to go along with a block and a steal. Beverley is the veteran leader that this team has needed for quite some time and has really found a home in Philadelphia.

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Latest on the Nuggets

The Nuggets have been all over the place of late with wins over the Pelicans and Pacers but losses to the Jazz and Magic. The problem for opposing teams is that the Nuggets are still the defending champs and only one game out of first place in the Western Conference.

Nikola Jokic is having another MVP type year which, like Embiid, is just to be expected. Jokic is averaging 25.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 9.3 assists so far this season, to lead the Nuggets in all three of those categories. Like Embiid, Jokic is almost comical to watch as he effortlessly controls the floor and opposing team, often just imposing his will on the opposition. He’s too talented to not focus on and he’s still virtually unstoppable.

Nba finals sixers
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) looks at the clock during the second half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball Western Conference semifinal game against the Phoenix Suns, Sunday, May 7, 2023, in Phoenix. The Suns defeated the Nuggets 129-124. (AP Photo/Matt York)

After Jokic, opposing teams still have to account for Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Aaron Gordon, all of whom are capable of putting up points in bunches. Murray is second on the team in scoring with 20.6 points per game and Porter Jr. isn’t far behind at 16.3 points per game. Both players can create problems for opposing defenses as well as Caldwell-Pope and Gordon.

The Nuggets have six players averaging double digits in scoring and point guard Reggie Jackson, at 33 years old, is still giving the team quality minutes in a reserve role. Jackson is averaging 11.8 points and 4.3 assists per game in just over 23 minutes per contest, which gives the team a huge help when Murray isn’t on the floor.

What to watch for tonight

The Sixers will be looking to show that they can compete against the best that the Western Conference has to offer and until it’s proven in the playoffs, the Nuggets are still the reigning champions. Having to deal with players like Murray, Porter Jr., and Caldwell-Pope can be tough on any team but realizing that they’re all second to the ability of Jokic is enough to make any team uncomfortable.

If the Sixers are to win, they’ll need to shut down Jokic and contain the rest of the options the Nuggets throw at them. In head-to-head matchups, Embiid holds a 5-2 record and seems to show up, as he does against so many of the top centers in the league, when he plays Jokic.

Sixers
Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) reacts next to Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) during the second half of Game 2 of basketball’s NBA Finals, Sunday, June 4, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The last time they met up was January of last year and while Jokic has 24 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 assists, he also had 7 turnovers as the Sixers won the game 126-119. For Embiid, he had 47 points, 18 rebounds, and 5 assists while also grabbing three steals in the victory. Embiid is easily the most dominant player in the league this season and is nearly impossible to stop when he’s on the floor. Jokic doesn’t stand a much a chance against him.

What the game will come down to tonight is how many points Embiid can put up with whether the team gets quality shooting from Maxey and Harris. If Harris is off, Maxey will still get more than 25 points but it will be a hard game if Harris isn’t operating efficiently. The reserves are going to have to step up but for the starters, the Sixers will need big games, especially defensively from Nico Batum and Kelly Oubre Jr. One thing is for certain, this is a premier matchup and one that everyone should be tuning in to.

Prediction

Sixers 132 – Nuggets 124

AP Photo/Nick Wass