Coming off a rough 117-115 loss at home to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the 76ers look to get back on track against the Rockets. Despite the loss, the 76ers are 30-17 on the season and 19-5 at home. Houston has struggled a bit on the road, posting a 9-12 record. The teams split the two meetings last year, both winning as road underdogs.
Looking closer at the match up, the 76ers strengths are in scoring (4th) and in rebounding (5th). When they lose it's generally due to poor defense or careless ball control The 76ers are ranked 22nd in points allowed and 28th in turnovers. Houston is excellent at taking care of the ball, ranked 2nd in fewest turnovers. They are 10th in scoring and 15th in points allowed, but their big wekaness is rebounding (22nd out of 30 teams). This does not bode well against a 76ers team that is one of the best on the boards.
Houston relies on top MVP candidate James Harden, who is scoring at all, averaging 35.7 points per game. Generally speaking, holding him under 40 is considered a victory. Chris Paul is a solid floor general, averaging nearly 16 points and eight assists per game. Clint Capela will battle Joel Embiid inside in this one, averaging 17.6 points and 12.6 rebounds. Eric Gordon provides 16 points per contest, while P.J. Tucker is capable of hurting opponents from long range, connecting on 38 percent from beyond the arc.
The 76ers success runs through center Joel Embiid, also an MVP candidate, averaging 27 points and 13.2 rebounds per game. The acquisition of Jimmy Butler has been big. He's excellent second option, hitting 39 percent from three point range, while JJ Redick is averaging 18.5 on 38 percent from long range. Ben Simmons drops 16.6 points per game despite playing without a jump shot. He's a triple-double threat every night, averaging 9.5 rebounds and 8.2 assists. Rookie Landry Shamet has become a good long range option off the bench.
Houston is a threat to win every night with Harden in the lineup, but it's difficult to see the 76ers losing back-to-back games at home. Bothi teams should be lighting up the scoreboard, making for an entertaining game. The best bet is to go with Philadelphia as the home favorite, getting a big win as they continue a brutal stretch of opponents for the next few weeks.