The 76ers are favourites to go into Brooklyn and beat their Eastern Conference rivals. Dave Gray thinks they can make it 8-1 with a big win over the Nets...
"There was lots of talk of a Simmons trade, but if the 76ets can get it working with Embiid, then they are a real threat to the rest of the NBA."
Philadelphia 76ers @ Brooklyn Nets
Friday, 00:30 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Arena
Philly are flying
The 76ers have got off to a flying start. Sitting at 7-1, with their lone loss coming to the Cavaliers. One thing to note on that loss is that it came on the second of back-to-back nights, just as tonight's game is.
The offence has been decent, but it is defensively where they have really excelled. They are giving up just 101.7 points per game - second best in the league. They really rebound well as you would expect from a team with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. There have been question marks over whether Philly can really make that pair work in a team. There was lots of talk of a Simmons trade, but if they can get it working, then they are a real threat to the rest of the NBA.
Philadelphia made some nice additions in the offseason. The likes of Seth Curry can really bring a bit of depth that they have perhaps lacked in recent years.
No Durant for the Nets
It is a battle of strengths as the number two scoring offence of the Nets goes up against that great defence. Kevin Durant's run in Brooklyn has started strongly. He leads the team at 28 points per game, just ahead of Kyrie Irving. However, he will miss tonight's game as he quarantines due to coronavirus protocols. He joins Spencer Dinwiddie on the side lines.
The Nets are a team that are likely to get better and better as the season goes on and they build some chemistry. But right now I feel a little like I did about last season's Clippers. On paper they are great, but they just have a few too many off nights where things do not come together. When it does they can beat anybody, but getting that every night is easier said than done.
Trust in the 76ers
Those two missing Nets players could be the difference between two teams likely to contend in the Eastern Conference. At full strength this matchup would be a great one, but without a couple of the Nets best players it gives the edge to the 76ers. They are on the back end of back to back nights, but I just trust this Philly team a lot more than the Nets.