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Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons, center, shoots between Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, and forward Anthony Tolliver, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019.
Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons, center, shoots between Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, and forward Anthony Tolliver, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019.|Craig Mitchelldyer | Associated Press
NBA

NBA Monday: Greg Frank picks Sixers vs Suns — with Joel Embiid sitting, we may have a shootout on our hands

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

0-1 Sunday night, 12-9 overall.

Sixers (-2) @ Suns (223)

Pick: Over 223

In case you didn’t notice on Saturday night, the Sixers are not the same team defensively without Joel Embiid. Not that Embiid’s presence was the sole reason the game was a shootout, as Portland’s outside shooting was excellent as well, but it goes without saying that an athlete of Embiid’s stature alters games defensively by himself. Embiid serves the second game of his two-game suspension tonight and it comes against one of the more surprising teams early on in the Association. Phoenix is 4-2 after six games and its good start has been in spite of 2018 No. 1 overall pick DeAndre Ayton getting suspended 25 games for testing positive for a banned substance. Devin Booker and Kelly Oubre have shot the ball exceptionally well for the Suns, big men Aron Baynes and Frank Kaminsky have softened the blow of Ayton’s absence, and Ricky Rubio has been his normal stat sheet stuffing self. Phoenix has scored at least 107 points in five of its six games. This line indicates a close game in the desert on Monday night and with Embiid out one more game, a close game probably is correlated to another high-scoring game like we saw on Saturday. I’m not sure who wins, but I feel pretty confident in both teams getting to 110 so I’ll go over 223 total points tonight.

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