It’s a huge game for the 76ers as they look to lock in home court in at least the first round of the playoffs. Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo will also have a potential MVP showcase that makes this game a must watch. However, I will be looking to James Harden to cash us out.
The Bucks defensive style should benefit Harden’s ability to find open teammates tonight. As Harden drives, the Bucks defense will often collapse to protect the paint. As this happens guys get open behind the arc, and not many players are better at finding them. This style has led to the Bucks allowing the most 3s per game in the NBA. Mix that with them being 23rd in assists allowed and I can see Harden racking up a ton of them tonight. James has averaged 19.2 potential assists and 9.9 assists since his arrival to the Sixers.
I also think Harden should have a good night on the glass. He’s the Sixers second best rebounder and there’s some things to like about this matchup for him. The Bucks run at the 8th fastest pace which should create more possessions in this one. The Bucks also launch the 4th most 3s in the league. Long shots lead to longer rebounds, and that’s where Harden tends to clean up. Harden’s average rebound distance is 7.2 feet from the hoop. Joel grabs many of the misses closer to rim of course, but Harden is terrific controlling the glass a little further out, and there should be plenty of opportunity to do that again tonight.
I will be taking his Rebound + Assist combo at 16.5. He has hit this in 8/14 with the Sixers and has averaged 18 for the season including his time with the Nets.