The Nets didn’t need the presence of Kevin Durant to dismantle the Utah Jazz at home on Wednesday.
Kyrie Irving had a hot start against the Jazz and finished with 29 points on 12-of-19 shooting from the floor against the Jazz, and the bulk of the scoring duties will fall heavily on his shoulder again when the Nets face the Sixers this Friday.
Durant is not expected to return to action until at least next week in accordance with the NBA’s COVID-19 quarantine protocols. Durant’s absence highlights the importance of Brooklyn’s depth, especially since Spencer Dinwiddie is done for the season.
The Nets have one of the best-scoring second units in the NBA, as they are getting 42.3 points per game from their relievers. In contrast, the Sixers are only producing 33.6 bench points per game.
Brooklyn’s twin tower combo of DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen should be able to slow down Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid.
The Nets are fourth in the NBA with 6.2 blocks per game while holding opponents down to only 42.1 percent shooting from the field. The Nets have seen the total go over in three of their last four home games.
ROAD TEAM: Philadelphia 76ers (7-1, 2-1 on the road)
Joel Embiid was an unstoppable force in the Sixers’ 141-136 home win over the Washington Wizards on Thursday.
Embiid exploded for 38 points to go with eight rebounds, five assists, three blocks, and three steals in 37 minutes of embarrassing Thomas Bryant and whoever it was the Wizards threw at him down low.
While Embiid should have a harder time in the paint against Allen and Jordan this Friday, Embiid’s presence alone is enough to make opposing defenses collapse and open up space for Philly’s shooters.
The Sixers are currently hitting 12.4 threes per game on 38.7 percent shooting. The Wizards were caught in a bind of choosing between Embiid and Seth Curry, with the latter going 6 of 7 from deep.
As a team, the Sixers nailed 18-of-29 3-point shots (62.1%) against Washington.
The Sixers have gone 5-0 straight up in their last five games, covering the spread in all but the Wizards contest in which Philly was favored by 6.5 points.
The Sixers are not going to shoot over 60 percent from behind the arc again, but Embiid is still going to power Philadelphia to a 114-110 win.