The Philadelphia 76ers and the Denver Nuggets are “dark horse” candidates to win their conferences this season but what makes this game even more exciting is the duel between the two leading candidates for the MVP trophies – Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic
The Philadelphia 76ers have done a great job acquiring James Harden from the Brooklyn Nets in a trade for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and Andre Drummond. The 2019 NBA MVP has adapted very well in the Sixers lineup and coach Doc Rivers has found a way to maximize his impact on the team.
‘The Beard’ is averaging 22.7 points and 10.4 assists for the season but his numbers in the last five games with the Sixers have risen to 24.6 points and 11 assists per game.
The reason for the Sixers’ optimism after trading for Harden is that Harden and Joel Embiid are functioning well playing together from day one. Embiid is having an amazing season, being a top 3 player in the league.
The center is leading the league with 29.7 points per game on over 49% shooting from the field, 35% from deep and 81% from the free-throw line. Embiid also has 11.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.4 blocks per game.
Tobias Harris is probably the best player no one talks about as the veteran forward is playing consistently well for the Sixers dropping 18 points per game. Tyrese Maxey is another player that makes a huge impact and is one of the frontrunners for the Most Improved Player Award. The 21-year-old is averaging 17.6 points and 4.5 assists per game on 42.3% shooting from the three-point line.
The Sixers are currently third in the Eastern Conference being 2.5 games behind the leading Miami Heat. The Sixers have won 6 of the last 7 games, losing only to the Heat in that stint.
They are coming off a 121-106 win over the Chicago Bulls in a game in which Embiid had 43 points and 14 rebounds and James Harden added 16 points and 14 assists.
The Sixers stand 19th in the league with 108.5 points per game and are seventh allowing 106.1 points per game.
Despite having major issues with injuries, the Denver Nuggets are currently sixth in the Western Conference and would be a very dangerous opponent for any team in the first round of the playoffs.
The main reason for that is the defending MVP Nikola Jokic who is on a way to winning the trophy again. The Serbian center is doing literally everything on the court and is unstoppable night in and night out. Jokic is averaging 25.9 points, 13.8 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game and is leading the league in triple-doubles this season.
In absence of the starting point guard Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., role players such as Will Burton, Aaron Gordon and Monte Morris have emerged averaging between 13 and 15 points per game.
In mid-season, the Nuggets acquired Bryn Forbes and DeMarcus Cousins which was another great move by the front office and coach Mike Malone.
The Nuggets are the third-best shooting team in the league with 47.6% from the field. They are ranked 10th in points per game with 111.3 and in three-points made per game with 13.
Our tip for the Philadelphia 76ers vs. Denver Nuggets game
This will definitely be an exciting game and a joy to watch the two best big men in basketball going against each other. Embiid and Jokic will most definitely do their part and the supporting cast will make the difference. That’s where the Sixers are much better at the moment mainly because of James Harden.
Will Burton is a great defender in that position but Harden is pretty much unstoppable when he wants to be. Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey do not have as many shots as before but they are very effective using almost every opportunity to score. Nikola Jokic on the other hand will probably be around a triple-double performance but this time that will not be enough for the Nuggets.