It’s an interconference clash on the hardwood between a pair of teams off to strong starts as they collide in the Sooner State. The Philadelphia 76ers are on the road as they make the trip to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday afternoon. Philadelphia was beaten 112-99 on the road by Minnesota in the second game of a back-to-back situation Wednesday night, failing to cover as a seven-point underdog. Oklahoma City dumped Chicago 116-102 at home in their previous contest Wednesday night, covering the line as a seven-point favorite. In the all-time regular season series between the teams, the Thunder own a 72-71 advantage, including a 133-114 road win in the most recent matchup on January 12, 2023.
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Philadelphia 76ers Try to Snap Two-Game Slide
Philadelphia suffered their second straight loss as they were dropped in the second game of a back-to-back situation by Minnesota on the road Wednesday. The 76ers entered Friday 10-5 on the season and stood second in the Atlantic Division, two games behind the Celtics for the top spot. Against Minnesota, Philadelphia was run out of the building early, trailing 37-20 after the opening quarter. The 76ers got within three in the second quarter, trailed by eight at the half and got no closer than five in the second half as the Timberwolves had an answer each time they made a run. Philadelphia shot only 39.1% from the field, including seven of 32 from three-point range, and allowed Minnesota to shoot 48.3% in the game. De’Anthony Melton, Marcus Morris Sr. and Tyrese Maxey each had 16 points to lead the 76ers in the loss.
On the year, the 76ers are 6th in the league in scoring offense with 118.9 points per game. The 76ers are 6th in rebounding as they collect 45.9 rebounds per contest while they are 21st in assists by dishing out an average of 25 dimes a night. Philadelphia is 12th in the league in scoring defense as they allow an average of 112.2 points a contest. Joel Embiid leads the 76ers as he puts up 31.9 points, 11.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists per contest this season. Tyrese Maxey (26.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 7.1 assists), Tobias Harris (19.5 points, 6.4 rebounds), Kelly Oubre Jr. (16.3 points, 5.1 rebounds) and De’Anthony Melton (12.2 points, 3.7 assists) are solid secondary options. Nicolas Batum, Robert Covington, Paul Reed, Jaden Springer, Danuel House Jr., Furkan Korkmaz, Patrick Beverley, Marcus Morris Sr. and Mo Bamba are rotation pieces for coach Nick Nurse. Philadelphia is 15th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 47.2% from the floor as a team this season. The 76ers are 24th in threes per game as they drain 11 triples a contest while they are 13th in three-point shooting by connecting on 36.2% of their attempts from beyond the arc.
Oubre Jr. (ribs) last played on November 10 and is expected to be out until early December. Embiid (hip) missed Wednesday’s game and is questionable here. Watch for any information regarding his status.
Oklahoma City Thunder Looking for Seventh Straight Win
Oklahoma City ran their win streak to six games as they held the Bulls in check in their previous contest Wednesday night. The Thunder improved to 11-4 on the season and stand second in the Northwest Division entering Friday night, half a game behind Minnesota for the top spot. Against Chicago, Oklahoma City led by 12 after the opening quarter, by as many as 18 in the second quarter and by 11 at the half. The Thunder led by 17 early in the third quarter only to see the Bulls tie the game at 69 with 4:29 to play in the stanza. Oklahoma City scored the next eight points to go up 77-69 and never let Chicago closer than three the rest of the way. The Thunder shot 49.3% from the field, including 11 of 29 from three-point range, and won the rebounding battle 45-38. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the way with 40 points, five rebounds and 12 assists in the win.
This season, the Thunder are 5th in the league in scoring offense as they average 119.3 points per game on the year. Oklahoma City is 25th in rebounding with 41.5 boards per contest while they are 17th in assists with 25.5 dimes a night. The Thunder are 9th in the league in scoring defense as they allow an average of 110.2 points a night. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leads the team with 30.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists per contest. Luguentz Dort is the most reliable secondary scoring option with 11.1 points per game. The Thunder look to Josh Giddey (12.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists), Chet Holmgren (17.1 points, 8.1 rebounds), Cason Wallace and Isaiah Joe (10.9 points) as other secondary scoring options. Aleksej Pokusevski, Jalen Williams (17.5 points), Ousmane Dieng, Kenrich Williams, Davis Bertans and Aaron Wiggins have to be contributors if they hope to have success. Oklahoma City is 2nd in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 50.2% from the floor as a team on the year. The Thunder are 14th by hitting 12.7 threes per game and 1st in three-point shooting by hitting 40.8% of their attempts from beyond the arc.
Jalen Williams (hip) has missed the last two games and is expected to be out here. Lindy Waters III (back) is questionable for this contest.
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Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Philadelphia has dropped two straight games entering this one and Embiid’s questionable status has to make one pause, at least a little bit, about their chances. The 76ers now have to face a Thunder team that has won six straight games coming into this one, though they will miss Williams’ presence given how well he’s played as a secondary scoring option. Oklahoma City is playing very good basketball and has improved its play on the defensive end of the floor as the season has gone on. If Embiid plays, the pendulum swings toward the 76ers but as it stands, Gilgeous-Alexander carries the Thunder to a hard-fought victory at home.
Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder +1
Full-Game Total Pick
Philadelphia has seen the over post an 8-6-1 mark in their 15 games this season. The 76ers have gone over the mark in five of their last 10 games, with one push. Philadelphia is in the middle of the pack when it comes to tempo this season, ranking 17th while averaging 99.1 possessions a night while they are 7th in turnovers with 13.4 per contest. Oklahoma City enters this game having seen the over post an 8-7 mark in their 15 games this season. The Thunder are 18th in the league in turnovers as they commit an average of 14.5 per contest while playing at a fast tempo. They are ninth in the league in pace by averaging 100.1 possessions per game this season. Look for this game to wind up going over the total.