The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA tips for the second clash between Portland Trail Blazers and Philadelphia 76ers in the space of nine days.
14:00 (AEDT), Fri 12th Feb @ Moda Center, Portland
History: Played 122: Trail Blazers 61 V 76ers 61
Last meeting: February 4, 2021: Trail Blazers 121 d 76ers 105 at Wells Fargo Center
Final Thoughts: Portland Trail Blazers are on the way back in the West, while Philadelphia 76ers continue to sail along at the top of the East.
The Trail Blazers can take confidence from a shock 121-105 victory in Philadelphia just a week ago. With Lillard and McCollum both sidelined, Gary Trent Jr (24 pts), Carmelo Anthony (22 pts, 5 ast) and Enes Kanter (17 pts, 18 reb) – among six double-digit scorers – stepped up. A blistering 40-19 third quarter proved the difference. The Sixers were missing Simmons, with Embiid (37 pts) playing a lone hand.
It was the Blazers’ fifth win from their last six against the Sixers. They have also won five of their last six against the 76ers in Portland.
Since then, the Blazers have moved to 13-10, bouncing back from a 110-99 road loss to the Knicks with a 106-97 home win over the Magic.
Lillard is back on deck and put up 36 points against Orlando. He’s averaging 29.4 points and 7.1 assists a night. Anthony’s 23 points off the bench included five threes. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic remain in the casualty ward.
The Blazers are 25th in the league for points conceded per game. They are 11-12 ATS overall and have a 6-5 home record. Replacing McCollum’s scoring and playmaking void has proved problematic.
Sixers stake East title claim
Philadelphia have won both games since falling to Portland. Ben Simmons (16 pts, 12 reb, 8 ast) returned to help spearhead a 124-108 defeat of the Nets, with Embiid (33 pts, 9 reb) and Tobias Harris (21 pts, 12 reb, 6 ast) also integral.
The trio were all in fine form again as the Sixers overcame the Kings 119-111 with a fourth-quarter surge. MVP contender Embiid (25 pts, 17 reb, 6 ast) was the standout.
The Sixers – top 10 in the NBA for attack and defence – are 14-10-1 ATS this season and have emerged as a very real Eastern Conference champion threat. They are 7-5 on the road.
Philadelphia are one of the league’s form teams and hard to back against here. Portland are tempting with a 5.5-point start – but when they lose, they tend to lose big. Seven of their 10 defeats this season were by 11+ (including five by 20-plus).
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