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The Philadelphia 76ers are set to host the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.
Kings working through defensive woes
It has been nothing short of an encouraging campaign for the Kings that has seen them push their way into possible playoff contention. This alone is something that the franchise has been unable to do for much of the last decade as their postseason drought extends far beyond that. They have had plenty of promising stretches throughout the year behind the play of their promising young core group of talent. A large chunk of this has been due to the play of their dynamic backcourt duo of point guard De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield, who have both established themselves as among the top young and upcoming players at their positions. In turn, it has seen these two each put together career-best campaigns where they have been among the most productive backcourt combinations in the league throughout the year.
(as 🦊) pic.twitter.com/AtrRfEm6Ia
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) March 12, 2019
Fox has seen much improvement in his play in his second campaign as he’s currently averaging 17.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 1.66 steals per game. Fox is one of three players alongside James Harden and Russell Westbrook averaging 17.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game this season. Meanwhile, Hield is averaging a career-high 20.9 points per game this season, which puts him as the 26th best scoring average in the NBA this year. However, what has troubled the Kings much of the year has been their inconsistent play defensively being among the least effective teams in that regard. Sacramento is currently 26th in the league giving up 114.8 points per game while being 18th with opponents shooting 46.1 percent from the field. These issues on that end of the floor on the second game of a back-to-back set should play against them when facing the 76ers.
76ers eyeing strong push
Throughout the season, the 76ers have been one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference that has seen them in the position of holding a top-three seed in the playoff picture. They have continued to receive strong play from their core group that has pushed them forward into being in this encouraging spot as the year has worn along. The 76ers possess an offensively talented roster that has the makings of a team that could potentially make a deep run in the playoffs and contend for the NBA title. This has seen them stockpile major offensive factors through the year that has made them an even greater offensive juggernaut as they are currently fifth in the league at 114.8 points per contest. This has seen them receive consistent play from All-Star center Joel Embiid throughout the year when he has been healthy. Since his return from injury, Embiid has firmly stepped back into the role as their top-scoring option that has steadied the ship offensively for them on the court.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) March 13, 2019
In first two games back in the lineup, Embiid is averaging 25.5 points, 15.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, and 1.5 blocks while shooting 45.9 percent from the floor. This has seen him notch back-to-back double-doubles in the process that reaffirm that he is back and fully healthy to produce at an elite level. Another bright spot has been the play of forward Tobias Harris, who has been an offensive spark plug since being acquired prior to the trade deadline. Harris is averaging 19.9 points and 8.1 rebounds while shooting 51.2 percent from the floor and 38.8 percent from beyond the arc in 14 games played. This has seen him post nine 20-point performances. His presence on the floor simply gives the 76ers another major piece offensively that should see them counteract the young upstart Kings with a strong performance on their home floor where they hold a 27-9 record. All of this simply puts them in the position to grab their third straight win and further help their strong late-season push toward the playoffs.
- 76ers are 16-5 ATS in its last 21 games when playing Sacramento
- 76ers are 5-2 ATS in its last seven games when playing at home against the Kings
- Kings are 1-3-1 ATS in its last five games
- Kings are 5-16 ATS in its last 21 games when playing the 76ers
- Kings are 2-5 ATS in its last seven games when playing on the road against the 76ers
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
With Embiid back in the mix, the 76ers look to be hitting their stride toward. It has also helped that they are playing at home where they hold one of the league’s best marks and facing a Kings’ team that will be playing their second game of a back-to-back set. What this has more than anything is the writing on the wall for Philadelphia to cruise to a win on their home floor.
Prediction: Philadelphia -9
Full-Game Total Pick
This is a matchup between two of the league’s highest-scoring offenses that should see plenty of points on the board. The 76ers will take advantage of the Kings’ porous defense while Sacramento’s dynamic backcourt should be in line for strong outings. It will be a game in favor of Philadelphia, but high scoring at that on Friday night.
Prediction: Over 233