National games are when Pistons fans, dying of thirst wandering the desert of irrelevance, can finally witness some quality basketball. Is that the case tonight? Well, even a game that is potentially missing both Joel Embiid and Kevin Durant will serve up much more talent than the Pistons can throw on the floor.
Durant, of course, has been out for a bit with a knee sprain, but he seems like he’s inching closer to a return around the All-Star break. Embiid missed the Sixers’ previous game and is listed on the injury report with left foot soreness. With Durant out, Kyrie Irving is racking up the second-most field goal attempts in the NBA at 24.4 per game. That trails only his former running mate and fellow star desperate for some help LeBron James. Even as the only offensive option in Brooklyn, Irving is still shooting 46% from the floor and nearly 40% from three. But Philly’s defense seems good enough that if they shut everyone else down, I’m not sure who else can hurt them.
During the night cap, the Grizzlies and Warriors will face off in a game of bitter rivals. The irrepressible and irresponsible swagger of the Grizzlies is absolutely off the charts, and it might only be sorta lovable because they still fly a bit under the radar. They are cruising toward league villain status, which is, ironically, a crown they would likely be taking from the Warriors. The Warriors still like to talk, but they know they are not the team they used to be. That doesn’t mean they don’t store up a little extra spite for Memphis, though. Hopefully it all translate into a good game.
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Odds: Nets +5
Brooklyn Nets (29-17)
Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, Royce O’Neale, Ben Simmons, Nic Claxton
Philadelphia 76ers (30-16)
James Harden, DeAnthony Melton, Tobias Harris, PJ Tucker, Joel Embiid
When: 10 p.m. ET
Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, California
Odds: Grizzlies +3.5
Memphis Grizzlies (31-16)
Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson, Xavier Tillman
Golden State Warriors (23-24)
Steph Curry, Jordan Poole, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green
If I’m looking to cover a crazy bet, I think I’m more apt to scan the options for the Warriors vs. Grizzlies matchup. Steven Adams is out for Memphis and Golden State is going small with a front court of Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins. You can get a Memphis on the moneyline plus a combined 50-plus each of points, rebounds and assists for each of Steph Curry and Ja Morant at +3,500, per the latest DraftKings odds. That’s crazy, but maybe a little too crazy. You can also get Memphis at +3.5, total points at over 245.5 and 30-plus for Ja Morant at a mere +475. That seems incredibly possible considering how much running each side is going to do in this game.
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