Can Eastern Conference Player of the Month Joel Embiid lead the Philadelphia 76ers to NBA glory this season?

NBA: East-Leading Sixers Face Potential Playoff Foes

The Philadelphia 76ers continue to look like one of the legitimate NBA championship contenders this season as they remain on top in Eastern Conference. The Sixers will seek to extend their lead when they face the Charlotte Hornets, who are also playing well of late and could meet Philly in the first round of the playoffs.

Elsewhere, the Indiana Pacers face the Milwaukee Bucks in another intriguing East matchup. And the red-hot Houston Rockets will be gunning for their seventh straight win against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Read on below as SBOTOP previews all 10 games in a jam-packed NBA schedule.

 

Philadelphia 76ers @ Charlotte Hornets

The Sixers and Hornets are the two hottest teams in the East at the moment, with both winning their last three games. The Sixers took care of the Pacers, 119-110, despite missing recently named Eastern Conference Player of the Month Joel Embiid due to a back injury.

Embiid has not put up big numbers over the Hornets; he’s averaging just 16.5 PPG in his first two games against them this season. But the Sixers still won both games by 15 or more points.

Charlotte will be eager to change that, although starting guard Terry Rozier (18.6 PPG) is still questionable to play due to a sprained ankle.

 

Indiana Pacers @ Milwaukee Bucks

The Pacers are coming off a fine performance last night as they picked up a huge 134-116 win against a red-hot Grizzlies team that had been on a 7-game win streak.

All-Star Domantas Sabonis was dominant with 32 points (13-15 FG) and 13 rebounds as Indiana shot a sizzling 60 per cent from the field as a team.

They will now face the Bucks, who are coming off their own blowout win, 134-106, over the Blazers. Milwaukee’s league-leading offence produced a terrific performance as they hit 21 3-pointers against Portland.

 

Dallas Mavericks @ Atlanta Hawks

Luka Doncic expresses his frustrations as the Dallas Mavericks suffered their sixth straight NBA defeat

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic during an NBA match against the Phoenix Suns

The Mavs’ struggles continued as they suffered their sixth straight defeat to the Suns last time out. Luka Doncic has expressed his frustration as Dallas have been derailed by Covid absences this season, although they do have forward Maxi Kleber back, which is a boost.

The Mavs will look to snap their losing skid when they take on the Hawks, who will still be without starting forward De’Andre Hunter (17.2 PPG) due to a knee injury. Star point guard Trae Young continues to play at a high level, though, scoring 38 or more points in 4 of his last 6 games.

Betting Tip: Dallas Mavericks Asian Handicap -1.50 @ 1.88

 

LA Clippers @ Cleveland Cavaliers

The Clippers will be aiming to bounce back after losing to the star-studded Brooklyn Nets last time out. Prior to that defeat, La had won 10 of their last 11 games thanks in large part to the strong play of Kawhi Leonard (26 PPG).

But the Cavs could be a handful. Cleveland’s young backcourt duo of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland continue to play so well. Andre Drummond is questionable with a sore lower back, but Jarrett Allen is ready to step in if necessary.

 

Washington Wizards @ Miami Heat

After their dramatic win against the Nets, the Wizards went back to losing ways with a 132-121 defeat last night against the Blazers. Despite the brilliance of Bradley Beal, the NBA’s leading scorer at 35 PPG, Washington have now lost 5 of their last 6 games.

But they have a decent chance of getting a win against the Heat, who have been even worse of late. Miami are now just 1-6 in their last 7 after losing to the Hornets 129-121 in overtime.

However, the Heat are finally getting healthy again with stars Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, and Goran Dragic all back after their recent absences.

 

New York Knicks @ Chicago Bulls

The Knicks are slipping back down the standings after losing 5 of their last 6 games. Julius Randle (22 PPG, 11 RPG, 6 APG) continues to carry much of the offensive load, but he’s not getting much support even as their improved defence continues to play reasonably well.

New York will be eager to bounce back after their 110-102 loss to the Bulls. Lauri Markkanen led the way with 30 points, his second 30-point outing in a row.

Betting Tip: New York Knicks Asian Handicap +3.00 @ 1.98

 

Houston Rockets @ Oklahoma City Thunder

The Houston Rockets are suddenly the hottest team in the NBA. They extended their winning streak to 6 straight games after blowing out the Thunder by 30 points. Houston already had 48 points in the first quarter after hitting 11 of their 28 3-pointers in the opening 12 minutes.

The Rockets will be reasonably confident they can keep up their red-hot shooting against the Thunder, who have given up 283 points in back-to-back blowout defeats.

 

Minnesota Timberwolves @ San Antonio Spurs

With Karl-Anthony Towns still out due to Covid, the Timberwolves are still stuck in the bottom of the West standings. They’ve won just once in their last five games. D’Angelo Russell has struggled since returning from a quad injury and is averaging just 17 points on 35 per cent shooting in his last three games.

The Wolves will look to at least be competitive against the Spurs, who suffered back-to-back blowout home defeats to the Grizzlies. Spurs’ leading scorer DeMar DeRozan (19.9 PPG) had just 19 points total in the two games.

Betting Tip: Minnesota Timberwolves Asian Handicap +8.00 @ 1.91

 

Phoenix Suns @ New Orleans Pelicans

The Suns are suddenly rolling again after back-to-back victories over the Mavs extended their winning streak to three games. Devin Booker made a strong return from his hamstring injury with 24 points, including the game-winning shot in the second game against Dallas.

The NBA 2021 betting odds fancy Phoenix to push their win streak to four games as they take on the struggling Pelicans. Despite Zion Williamson (23.5 PPG, 7.6) putting up decent numbers, the New Orleans offence has not performed as well as expected, and their defence remains poor.

Betting Tip: Phoenix Suns Asian Handicap -2.50 @ 1.90

 

Boston Celtics @ Sacramento Kings

The Celtics snapped their two-game losing skid last night with a 111-107 win over the Warriors. Jayson Tatum led the way with 27 points and 9 rebounds as he continues his strong play since returning from Covid.

Kemba Walker also played well with 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists, but he will likely sit out on the second night of a back-to-back. With guards Marcus Smart and Peyton Pritchard injured, Boston will be short on depth in the backcourt.

Meanwhile, Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox made NBA 2021 highlights as he scored 38 points, including 17 straight at one point, to lead Sacramento to victory over the Pelicans. The Kings have now won four of their last five games, in large part due to Fox’s strong play of late.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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