Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, front, and teammates wear jerseys with Kobe Bryant's number on them before the team's NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, front, and teammates wear jerseys with Kobe Bryant's number on them before the team's NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Philadelphia. |Steven M. Falk | The Philadelphia Inquirer via Associated Press
NBA

Thursday NBA Picks: Pelicans vs Bulls, and 76ers vs Bucks — will today's trade deadline light a Philly fire?

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

1-1 Wednesday, 87-84-1 overall.

Pelicans (-5) @ Bulls (231)

Pick: Bulls +5

The Chicago Bulls haven’t played since Sunday, when they got smoked in the second half north of the border against the Raptors. The Bulls actually led at halftime of that game before completely folding in the third and fourth quarters. In their penultimate game on the road trip, the a six-point deficit after three quarters became a 15-point loss in Brooklyn. What we’re getting at is against superior competition, Chicago was not able close the deal on the road. Well I’m not sure New Orleans should be considered superior competition. There’s obvious glitz and glamour that comes with the Pelicans now that Zion Williamson is playing, but they’re still only two games better than Chicago in the loss column. We’re getting five points with the Bulls at home and backed them getting 5.5 on the road in Brooklyn. Therefore, this line tells us that New Orleans is a better team than Brooklyn. The Nets aren’t great, but if you polled 100 NBA fans, my guess is a simple majority would say they’re better than the Pelicans. There’s some nice value on the home underdog here who we think probably wins this game outright.

Sixers (+9) @ Bucks (227)

Pick: Sixers +9

If you’ve followed our picks most of the year, this one shouldn’t surprise you. We love to preach the notion that no team is as good or as bad as it looks on any one night. Philadelphia just got blown out by Miami in its last game and yes, the Sixers are a garbage road team. But, in a game of NBA basketball not that long ago, the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Milwaukee Bucks by double digits. Christmas might feel like an eternity ago with the Sixers still trudging along through the regular season and home court advantage in the opening round of the playoffs looking less and less certain. But that game happened and yes one could argue revenge game for Milwaukee tonight, but we’ll take the bounce back angle with the Sixers. Philly changed things up on its bench this week shipping out James Ennis to Orlando and bringing in Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks from Golden State. For a team that has been in pursuit of bench help for a while, those moves should not be viewed as insignificant. Between a blowout on Monday and recent trades, a fire should be lit under the rest of the roster and so we’ll take the Sixers to keep this game close.

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