Meeting for the third time this season, the Oklahoma City Thunder hold a 2-0 advantage over the Sixers on the year. The Philadelphia 76ers come into the matchup down big men Joel Embiid and Boban Marjanovic while the Thunder are resting superstar Paul George with a sore shoulder.
Despite the lack of Philadelphia depth at the center position tonight, they still come into the game as one of the more star-studded squads in the NBA. Without George, the Thunder will have their hands full slowing down the Jimmy Butler and Ben Simmons duo. That said, Steven Adams should be able to have himself a big evening with both of Philadelphia’s true big men out for the day.
The one-man show of Russell Westbrook should be on full display tonight without George in the mix, but don’t expect as efficient of a night as we’ve come to see from Westbrook this season. Without George offering a reliable safety valve, Westbrook will likely revert to his pre-PG days and jack up a ton of shots. There is always the chance Russell gets hot and carries the team to a win, but we saw that before George, he was mostly unable to do so against playoff teams.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Betting Line & Over/Under
(All odds courtesy of Oddsshark.com)
- Philadelphia 76ers (39-22) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (38-22)
- Thursday, February 28th at 8:00 pm ET
- Point Spread: Thunder (-5)
- Point Total: 240.5
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Betting Prediction
As you can see above, the last matchup between these two teams was an incredibly exciting back and forth affair. With both teams missing key components, this game should play out a bit different. The most noticeable difference will be the ability of Steven Adams to control the flow of the game. With Embiid and Marjanovic both out, the Sixers don’t offer a reasonable option to do battle with Adams on the glass and he should be able to do just about anything he wants down low tonight. Not one to light up the scoreboard, Adams tends to impact games more with his bone-rattling screens, excellent rim protection, and hard work on the glass.
Another area to keep an eye on is going to be how the Thunder are going to counter what will likely be a ton of small-ball looks from the Sixers. The Sixers have two of the most talented wings in the NBA in Butler and Tobias Harris and without George helping to slow them down, both should be in line for monster performances. Especially with Embiid out, Butler and Harris will likely continue to be the primary scoring options for the Sixers.
Given the lack of depth at center, the Sixers initially opened as 7 point road underdogs. However, once George was ruled out, the line dropped only two and a half points to +4.5. Philadelphia simply has too much offensive firepower to not be able to hang with a Paul George-less Thunder squad. Even if Adams has a monster game rebounding and is a force down low (which he will be), the Thunder don’t have an answer for the Sixers size and skill at the guard and wing positions. I feel more comfortable taking the Sixers with the points here, but the money line should almost certainly be in play.
Pick: Philadelphia 76ers (+4.5)