Knicks vs. 76ers NBA Pick
The Philadelphia 76ers return to Wells Fargo Center to host the New York Knicks and they may be without their star center Joel Embiid. Can the Knicks beat the NBA odds on Thursday night? The 76ers have won 13 straight home games but not having Ben Simmons and possibly Embiid makes this a challenging affair.
New York Knicks (17-41) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (36-23)
Thursday, February 27 at 7:00 PM ET, Wells Fargo Center
Embiid Out for Thursday?
Joel Embiid left the 108-94 road loss against the Cavaliers after a shoulder injury. He went from the locker room to the bench and then left for the locker room again and never came back. Embiid collided with Ante Zizic in the first half and experienced pain. He finished with three points and one block in eight minutes.
This is another blow for the 76ers, as they already lost All-Star point guard Ben Simmons indefinitely to a back injury. The 76ers are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference at 36-23 and now they will deal with the stretch run of the regular season with injury concerns surrounding their top best players.
The Knicks are mess but what else is new? They’re just 9-20 on the road and they have lost five straight games overall, including last night’s 107-101 road setback against the Hornets. Julius Randle finished with 18 points and nine rebounds and Bobby Portis added 17 points in 23 minutes off the bench but the Knicks were just 4-for-15 from beyond the arc (26.7 percent).
No Simmons for a While
Simmons left the 119-98 loss against the Bucks last Saturday with a lower back injury and there’s no idea about how long he will be out.
Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski: “Ben Simmons will be re-evaluated in 2 weeks for nerve impingement in lower back, but there’s little expectation that he’d be ready to return to lineup that soon, sources tell ESPN. Doctors are hopeful treatment can drive improvement, but Sixers are preparing to play without him.”
76ers head coach Brett Brown addressed the Simmons injury last Monday: “With 25 games left, we’ve taken a hit with Ben. I’m not spinning it: It’s an opportunity for us to learn. We’re going to learn something. We’re going to find something.”
Ben Simmons only played five minutes in Saturday’s game against the Bucks. He had missed Thursday’s 112-104 overtime win against the Nets and also didn’t play last Monday against the Hawks. He is averaging 16.7 points, 8.2 assists and 7.8 rebounds in 35.8 minutes over 54 games while shooting 58.5 percent from the field but he still refuses to shoot 3-pointers. He attempted just 11 3-point shots in 2017-18 and six in 2018-19 and this season he is 2-for-6 from 3-point range.
This did not stop the 23-year-old from becoming a two-time NBA All-Star but it can hold him back from helping the 76ers go far in the playoffs.
Brett Brown downplayed Simmons’ importance by saying that this is an opportunity for the team to learn something but they are in trouble without Simmons. Raul Neto (minus-2.4 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) replaced Simmons in the starting lineup against the Nets but he averages just 1.5 assists per game and scored just six points with four assists in 28 minutes against the Nets. He didn’t even play against the Cavaliers.
Shake Milton (minus-2.1 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) played well against the Bucks with 17 points and two assists in 22 minutes off the bench. That performance earned him the chance to start at point guard against the Hawks and he finished with just seven points and six assists. Milton averages just 1.7 assists per game and he is not the answer either, he did lead the way with 20 points against the Cavs, making 4 of 6 3-pointers but he had just four assists.
Betting Trends and Prediction
The New York Knicks are:
5-0 ATS in their last five games against a team with a winning percentage above .600
5-1 ATS in their last six games against a team with a winning straight up record
4-1-1 ATS in their last six road games
7-3 ATS in their last 10 games after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game
4-1 ATS in the last five meetings
The Philadelphia 76ers are:
2-7 ATS in their last nine games when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game
1-5 ATS in their last six games against a team with a winning percentage below .400
The Knicks are a bad team but you have to like their chances to at least be competitive if the 76ers only have Al Horford (plus-1.6 Box Plus/Minus), Mike Scott (minus-2.5 Box Plus/Minus) and Kyle O’Quinn (plus-1.6 Box Plus/Minus) to stop Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Mitchell Robinson and Bobby Portis. I would even bet on them to cover if Embiid plays.