I was kind of intrigued by a recent article I read in the New York Daily News about the Philadelphia 76ers, because I did not have much of an idea about the internal strife that was happening within the organization. The story indicates that Brett Brown, who was with the team during its “dumping” phase, would be walking the plank if the team did not get by this opening round series against the Brooklyn Nets, which continues on Saturday afternoon at the Barclays Center.
Fortunately for him, the Sixers look like they are very much in the driver’s seat as Game 4 approaches, and BetAnySports customers can be in the driver’s seat too, if they sign up and take advantage of reduced juice, which is the best deal, hands down, in the sportsbook industry, since it allows you to get better odds every day on every game.
Anyone who follows the NBA knows that the Sixers tanked for draft picks, and gathered several, including Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons (who have worked out) and Jahlil Okafor and Markelle Fultz (who ultimately did not). And they added some veteran presence in the persons of JJ Redick, Jimmy Butler and now Tobias Harris. When you put a lot of young talent out there, along with some egos who may have been problems in the locker room (like Butler), you potentially have an explosive situation, and by all accounts that is what they’ve encountered in Philadelphia.
Evidently Brown has “lost the locker room,”: according to the Daily News story, and some of that had to do with a little speech made by Bruce Bowen in which he tried to lecture them about the winning “culture” of the San Antonio Spurs championship teams, if which he was a member – and where Brown was an assistant. This was interpreted as a bit condescending, and a fight almost erupted.
Ben Simmons, not known for his shooting but a revelation as a 6-10 point guard, apparently needs to mature. He went out partying when the team was in Orlando a month ago, and couldn’t make post the next night. But even though Elton Brand, more of an old school guy (and a fellow #1 overall draft pick) wanted to deal him, he was told by ownership that Simmons was going nowhere.
In the NBA betting odds on Game 4 – complete with reduced juice – at BetAnySports, the Sixers are once again favored on the road:
Philadelphia 76ers -1.5 (-107)
Brooklyn Nets +1.5 (-103)
Over 231.5 points -105
Under 231.5 points -105
The Sixers dropped a point here as it became probable that Embiid, who has owned the Nets, will be held out because of his sore knee. If they were down two games to one it may have been a different story, but the Sixers, who dragged ass in the series opener, have now beaten the Nets with Embiid (23 points in 21 minutes) and without him, scoring 276 points in the process.
But this total has dropped as well, and maybe that is something to jump on. Simmons may be a baby at times, but he knows bulletin board material when he sees it. Jared Dudley makes a comment about him being “ordinary” in the half-court, and he blows Brooklyn away with 31 points and nine assists in Game 3.
Actually, Simmons IS less effective in the half-court, simply because he doesn’t threaten anybody with his shooting range. And so what does that mean? Well, logically it dictates that the Sixers, without Embiid and with Simmons leading the way, will run more, and the proof is in the pudding – thus far (albeit in small sample size) Philly has played at a pace of ten more possessions per 48 minutes with just Simmons than with the Simmons-Embiid combo. It just makes sense to go faster.
And if they really want to get small (as if a 6-10 point guard is “small”), they can have Mike Scott at the “5” spot and go even faster; indeed, about as fast as a team can possibly go. Since Embiid also prevents easy shots from being taken at the other end, we can argue that his absence promotes the idea of a higher-scoring game. That’s why we’re on the OVER here.
Immaturity may hold the Sixers back from going to the NBA Finals, but it won’t here. In fact, they may hold out the big man the rest of the way in the first round, since they figure they can beat Brooklyn without him. And they probably can. And perhaps that helps Brett Brown keep his job a little longer……right?
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