Philadelphia 76ers vs Denver Nuggets: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: Pepsi Centre, Denver, CO

When: Saturday, January 26th at 9:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): NBC Sports Philadelphia, Altitude | KKSE-FM 92.5, 97.5 The Fanatic

Philadelphia 76ers (Away)

Head Coach: Brett Brown {All-Time 159-300 | PHI}

The Sixers are in a fight to overtake the Pacers for third place in the Eastern Conference. With a record of 32-17, the Sixers are a mere one game back from drawing with the Pacers for the third spot.

The Sixers are attempting to put on a decent win streak when they take on the Denver Nuggets. With a record of 7-3 in their last ten games and a point differential of 3.8, the Sixers want to expand on their recent form and take one from the Nuggets.

This will be the first matchup between the two teams this season so it’ll be a new experience for both going up against each other. Denver plays an impressive brand of team basketball and has one of the NBA’s most unique players in Nikola Jokic. If the Sixers can stop Jokic’s playmaking from the high post, they can severely limit the Nuggets offence.

Denver Nuggets (Home)

Head Coach: Mike Malone {All-Time 189-209 | SAC, DEN}

The Denver Nuggets will face off against the Philadelphia 76ers before they embark on a short two-game road trip. With a record of 31-15, the Nuggets are right on the heels of the Golden State Warriors as they attempt to reclaim first place in the Western Conference.

After a loss to the Jazz, the Nuggets are looking to get back on track. 6-4 in their last ten matches while owning a 4.8 point differential, the Nuggets are doing their best to take care of business against lesser teams.

The Nuggets have been absolutely dominant at home, with a record of 20-4 at the Pepsi Centre. They’ve been average on the road (11-11), but that’s why teams fight for home court advantage. The Nuggets will be looking to channel that home energy into stopping Embiid, Butler, and Simmons from picking apart their vaunted defence.

What’s At Stake?

The Nuggets and Sixers have met only a few times in their respective franchise histories as they have always resided in different conferences. In the all-time series, the Sixers lead the Nuggets 49-37.

A win for the Sixers would put them in a tie with the Pacers for third in the East.

A win for the Nuggets would put them half a game away from reclaiming the number one seed in the West.

Questions to answer

Are the Sixers right to be targeting a point guard?

Can the Nuggets correct their three-point defence?

We are going to compare the Philadelphia 76ers and the Denver Nuggets in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

Rumors abound as the Sixers target a Point Guard

Technically speaking, the Philadelphia don’t need a point guard per se. Ben Simmons is and will be their primary playmaker going forward, despite the fact that he plies his trade at the power forward position.

Currently the Sixers boast only TJ McConnell and Ben Simmons as their primary playmakers. While both are serviceable in their roles, their clear lack of shooting is difficult for the Sixers’ already poor offensive spacing.

There’s a number of point guards on the market at the moment. Trey Burke, Shabazz Napier, even Michael Conley in a dream scenario for the Sixers. But whether or not the Sixers want to dangle the remainder of their assets to improve immediately is yet to be seen. At this moment in time, the Sixers are dependant on McConnell and Simmons to provide as much as they can.

The Nuggets allowed 19 threes in a loss to the Jazz

57. That is the amount of points that the Nuggets allowed from range in a loss to the Utah Jazz. While Utah has improved as a three-point shooting team, they aren’t the team that will come at you with an attack from the arc that we saw against the Nuggets.

It’s easy to suggest hot shooting was what beat the Nuggets but there is something deeper. The Nuggets are allowing a very high percentage of makes from corner threes, 39.7% from the left corner and 36% from the right corner. In comparison, they allow 32.5% from above the break in the three point line.

Due to the Nuggets lack of a shotblocker without Plumlee on the court, they tend to switch quickly on defence and aren’t as aggressive when defending on the perimeter. In five straight games the Nuggets have allowed double digit makes from three and that has to stop. It will be up to the wing players to navigate harder over and around screens in order to stop easy ball movement as Jokic just does not have the foot speed to switch onto quicker players.

Philadelphia 76ers Roster Notes

G-F Jimmy Butler – Day To Day (Wrist) – Butler did not play in Wednesday’s game (Jan. 23) against the Spurs.

G Markelle Fultz – Out (Shoulder/Wrist) – Fultz is progressing well in rehab and expects to return this season according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

C Justin Patton – Out (Foot) – Patton could return in early February, according to head coach Brett Brown.

G Zhaire Smith – Out (Foot) – Smith has been working out every morning and is expected to play this season, according to Kyle Neubeck.

Denver Nuggets Roster Notes

F Michael Porter – Out (Back) – Porter Jr. is still without a timetable for return, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

G Isaiah Thomas – Out (Hip) – Thomas has not played this season and no timetable has been announced for his return.

F-C Jarred Vanderbilt – Day To Day (Foot) – Vanderbilt did not play in Wednesday’s game (Jan. 23) against the Jazz.

Head-to-Head: Joel Embiid vs Nikola Jokic

Joel Embiid

Center | 7-0, 250lb (213cm, 113kg) | Cameroon/Kansas | Exp. 3 Years

27.2 PPG | 3.5 APG | 13.3 RPG | 0.6 SPG | 2.0 BPG | 3.5 TOV | .491 FG% | .309 3P%

Nikola Jokic

Center | 7-0, 250lb (213cm, 113kg) | Serbia/Mega Leks | Exp. 4 Years

19.8 PPG | 7.7 APG | 10.3 RPG | 1.3 SPG | 0.7 BPG | 3.2 TOV | .504 FG% | .315 3P%

Two of the NBA’s best young players are Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic. They are two modern centres with the strength of the old-school game and the skill to fit in the modern NBA. While the centre position has grown out of favour in recent years, these young stars are doing well to make sure the pivot position is still at the front of peoples minds.

Joel Embiid is a beast on both ends of the court. Dominant on the inside and outside on the offensive end, The Process puts the same amount of focus and effort on the defensive end. Embiid has been great this season but with the inclusion of Butler and Simmons his time on the ball has been limited. It has been a balancing act for the Sixers all season, but what is clear is that Embiid is a player that can change the game in a moment.

Who could’ve seen Nikola Jokic coming to be the player he is today? Drafted in the second round, Jokic was overweight and unmotivated while he played behind now Blazers centre Jusuf Nurkic. Now Jokic is in the middle of the NBA conversation. Looking like the modern Arvydas Sabonis, Jokic is crafting a legend of his own as passer, shooter, and post-option for a successful Nuggets squad.

Philadelphia 76ers at Denver Nuggets Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Denver Nuggets favoured over the Philadelphia 76ers by 7, with an over/under of 110.