Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving, right, goes up for a shot against Philadelphia 76ers' Tobias Harris during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Philadelphia.
Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving, right, goes up for a shot against Philadelphia 76ers' Tobias Harris during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Philadelphia. |Matt Slocum | Associated Press
NBA

NBA pick of the day: Nets vs 76ers — coming off the break, is the smart bet the over or under?

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

1-0 Thursday before All-Star break, 96-89-1 overall.

Nets (+8) @ Sixers (216)

Pick: Under 216

The NBA returns from the All-Star break this evening and we’re going to Wells Fargo Center for our first pick back on the hardwood. The Nets make the short trip to South Philadelphia to take on 76ers, a team that got a much-needed victory going into the break against the Clippers at home. My initial inclination this week before this number opened was to back the Sixers again thinking they’re about to turn it up and make a climb in the Eastern Conference standings. Then I saw Philly as an eight-point chalk and I’m clearly not the only one that feels that way. I’ll look to the total for a play on this game instead and go under 216. The Sixers left a lot to be desired offensively at times in the first half of the season but have graded out well defensively. If they’re going to make a push for home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs in the regular season’s final two months, it’s going to have to be on the heels of their defense. Considering Philly’s struggles on the road, a good argument can be made that the playoffs start now for the Sixers who certainly need to finish at least in the top four in the East to make a serious run. Intensity and effort often mean good defense and we think we’re getting a good deal of that from the Sixers out of the break.

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