The most important game in the NBA on Wednesday is clearly Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers as they are tied for the best record in the Eastern Conference at 37-17. The winner Wednesday would clinch the season series and thus a potentially huge tiebreaker. That winner is likely to be the 76ers as they are 7-point favorites on the William Hill Sportsbook NBA odds because the Nets are without All-Stars Kevin Durant, James Harden, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge – but they should have Kyrie Irving.
Durant and Griffin both played in Tuesday's 127-97 blowout matinee win at Minnesota; Durant had 31 points in just 27 minutes and Griffin had four points and four rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench. They are healthy but aren't playing the second of a back-to-back and probably won't the rest of the way. Harden is out at least another week with a hamstring injury, while Aldridge has a non-COVID illness that kept him out Tuesday as well.
It's a good thing Irving apparently will return from a personal absence because Brooklyn is quite thin in the backcourt with not only Harden out but also Tyler Johnson and now Chris Chiozza. He got his first start of the season Tuesday and had four points, five assists and two rebounds in 14 minutes before leaving with a right hand injury. He will miss several weeks after surgery to repair a fractured third metacarpal Wednesday. Not a huge loss when the Nets are at full strength.
Since the Harden trade, Irving has played in two games without Harden and Durant and the Nets are 1-1 in those. Brooklyn is 0-1 when all three sit out, if for some reason Irving doesn't play. The Nets have used a franchise-record-tying 28 starting lineups already.
Philadelphia has been off since winning 113-95 in Dallas on Monday behind 36 points in just 26 minutes from Joel Embiid. The Sixers are listing no one of note as injured here, so they in theory should win in a rout, and SportsLine expert Matt Severance backed Philadelphia.
The Nets beat the visiting Sixers 122-109 on Jan. 7, and then Philadelphia beat visiting Brooklyn 124-108 on Feb. 6. Neither Irving nor Durant played in either. Embiid played in both and averaged 26.5 points and 10.5 rebounds.
Brooklyn is 0-5 against the spread in its past five in Philadelphia.
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