Tonight, a banged-up Philadelphia 76ers team will be headed to San Antonio to take on DeJounte Murray and the Spurs. Despite being 3-7 in their last ten, DeJounte Murray has played like a bonafide All-Star in that stretch, playing the most effective basketball of his six-year career. On the contrary, a blazing hot Joel Embiid is looking to lead a short-handed Sixers group to a win, in hopes of avoiding falling to seventh in the East.
How The Philadelphia 76ers Can Win:
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) January 23, 2022
Philadelphia is going into AT&T Center without Seth Curry (ankle), Danny Green (hip), Shake Milton (back), and Matisse Thybulle (shoulder). All key role players, Philly has to rely on Embiid keeping up his hot streak, while Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris put up big games to compliment him.
Outside of the tandem of Maxey, Harris, and Embiid, Philadelphia doesn’t have many reliable contributors set for their rotation tonight. In order for them to win against a fully loaded San Antonio team, not only will all three have to have a big night, but they’ll also have to play as a unit in order to create openings for the others. If Maxey, Harris, and Embiid can put up big scoring nights while keeping the ball flowing consistently, it’ll allow for shooters such as Furkan Korkmaz, Isaiah Joe, and Georges Niang to find open looks and potentially heat up.
Last game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Philly was able to win the assist battle. Maxey tallied eight, Embiid dished out six, and Harris put up four. These are fine numbers on the surface, but considering Niang, Korkmaz, and Joe shot a combined 3 for 17 from deep, Philly wasn’t able to pick up the win. Even if Embiid, Harris, and Maxey have big games, they’ll need their complimentary shooters to step up in order to win this game.
A fully healthy Sixers team should be able to knock off a fully healthy Spurs team, but due to the Sixers missing multiple key players, this game becomes much closer. With Murray guarding Maxey tonight, expect Maxey to have an off night, while Embiid and Harris are forced to carry the load. A lot of this game will come down to who wins the three-point battle, and with both team’s current lineups, San Antonio’s snipers are more reliable than Philly’s tonight. This projects to be a rather ugly game from Philadelphia due to their lack of personnel and depth going into the game, and a rather pretty game for San Antonio due to Philly’s lack of perimeter defense tonight.
How The San Antonio Spurs Can Win:
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) January 23, 2022
The Spurs are going into this game with the upper hand, despite being the worse team of the two. They’re fully healthy going into it, and DeJounte Murray has been playing the best ball of his life. Over the last ten, Murray has averaged 24 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists on 48% from the field. What makes this even more impressive is the assist to turnover ratio, as he’s managed to dish out nine assists per game while only giving up 2.5 turnovers. The Spurs are a poor 3-7 in this stretch, but Murray has been playing on another level, proving why he should be considered for an All-Star nod.
The Spurs need a few things to happen if they want to win this game. Firstly, Murray must continue his recent play. If he can be this team’s offensive engine consistently tonight while locking up Maxey, it’ll make a world of a difference for the Spurs. Not only that, but they’ll have to knock down their threes at a consistent rate. The Spurs currently sit at 13th in the association for three-point percentage, right at the middle of the pack. With Matisse Thybulle out, the Sixers perimeter defense will be lacking, so they’ll have to make the most out of his absence and knock down their three’s at a high clip.
Finally, in what might be the hardest task for San Antonio, they’ll need to somewhat contain Joel Embiid. In his last ten, Embiid has had one game with less than over 30 points, and he still managed to put up 25 in a win. The Spurs have one of the best defensive bigs in the league in Jakob Poeltl, and although he may not have what it takes to slow down Embiid in the slightest, he can’t let Embiid go off for 30 or more points tonight. Poeltl is going to have to get in Embiid’s grill consistently tonight when he goes to his near-automatic mid-range game, and he needs to use his verticality to his advantage when Embiid attempts to go to the rim.
The Spread Via FanDuel:
- Moneyline- PHI: (-130) | SA: (+110)
- Spread: PHI: -2 (-110) | SA: +2 (-110)
Final Prediction: San Antonio Spurs 115, Philadelphia 76ers 97