The 76ers opened the regular season on a five-game winning streak but have since lost two in a row to enter the weekend with a 5-2 overall record. Philadelphia will be concluding a four-game Western Conference road trip on Friday in Denver before returning to the Wells Fargo Center for a quick two-game homestand. Meanwhile, Denver is hoping to build some momentum of their own after notching back-to-back wins of their own to enter with an identical 5-2 mark. Can the Nuggets push their winning streak to three games at home against the 76ers on Friday night?
Simmons suffers AC Sprain in loss to JazzPhiladelphia was unable to get back on the winning track on Wednesday night, falling on the road in Utah 106-104. Joel Embiid returned from his suspension to score 28 points and haul in 16 rebounds while Josh Richardson added a season-high 24 points for the 76ers, who went 30-for-34 from the charity stripe in the loss. To make matters worse, starting point guard Ben Simmons left the game with an apparent injury and did not return for the second half.
Simmons will miss Friday’s game in Denver and could be looking at an extended absence from the court. The 76ers’ star was diagnosed with a Grade 1 AC joint sprain in his right shoulder and will be re-evaluated prior to Sunday’s game versus the Charlotte Hornets. Simmons is expected to miss three games, leaving his projected return for the team’s back-to-back set against Cleveland and Orlando next week. He comes in averaging 13.1 points, 6.9 assists, and 5.4 rebounds per game this year.
As expected, Josh Richardson's defense has been excellent for the Sixers. His play at the point of attack is particularly valuable.— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) October 30, 2019
A few of his highlights against Atlanta (he was key to containing Trae after a hot start): pic.twitter.com/3FdYvIms2A
With Simmons out of the lineup, the 76ers will continue to rely on newly-acquired guard Josh Richardson to handle more of the ball-handling duties on offense. Al Horford will also assume more of a play-making role with Simmons out.
Philadelphia comes into the weekend ranked among the top defensive teams in the league. The 76ers have surrendered only 101.6 points per 100 possessions this season, which ranks seventh in the NBA. While they rank only 17th in offensive rating (106.5), their +4.9 net rating is tied for sixth in the league.
Murray off to strong start for NuggetsThe Nuggets put together arguably their best game of the season on Wednesday night, dismantling the Miami Heat 109-89 for their second straight win. Jamal Murray scored a team-high 21 points to lead six Nuggets players in double-figures and Will Barton added a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets. Denver also held Miami to just 36.4 percent shooting on the night and limited the Heat to under 100 points for the first time all season.
The Nuggets are keeping an eye on the status of shooting guard Gary Harris, who was forced to leave the Miami game with an ankle injury and did not return. X-rays came up negative and head coach Mike Malone sounded optimistic that both Harris and fellow starter Paul Milsap would be able to go versus the 76ers on Friday.
Murray is quietly off to a strong start to the year for the Nuggets. The 6-foot-4 guard comes in scoring 18.9 points while averaging 4.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. He’s shooting a career-high 45.2 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from deep while getting to the free-throw line 4.6 times per game, which also represents a career-high.
- 76ers are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games following a straight up loss.
- 76ers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- 76ers are 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 games overall.
- Nuggets are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following an ATS win.
- Nuggets are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight-up win of more than 10 points.
- Nuggets are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. Eastern Conference.