Philadelphia managed to squeeze a late win against the Dallas Mavericks in Texas in their last matchup. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid both put up 23 points as the Sixers took the game 112-110. Simmons continues to impress this season, averaging 17.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists in his maiden campaign. He’s clearly been the Rookie of the Year up to this point, but the season is still young and there are plenty more tests to come, including Monday night’s game in Houston.
The Rockets come into this game following a tough loss to a Grizzlies team that currently leads the Western Conference. The shot just wasn’t falling for the Rockets as they converted only 37.7% of their attempts from the field. They’ve had their ups and downs since Chris Paul’s injury, and will look to add more positives to the season at home with a stronger performance offensively.
Keys to the game
Shooting – The only way the Sixers can stay in this game is if the Rockets’ shooting is poor again. If they’re able to convert at their normal rate of around 45%, then Houston should win comfortably.
Bench production – Both starting lineups look equally equipped, especially with Paul out, so this game could come down to one or two strong performances from the second unit. TJ McConnell posted 15 points a 8 assists from the bench against the Mavericks. A repeat display would be huge for the Sixers.
Transition play – Even without Paul, James Harden is adept at pushing the ball forward in transition for easy buckets, normally from deep. The Sixers need to limit this if they’re to stay in this game.
Matchup to watch
Ben Simmons vs James Harden – They may not be natural point guards, but they are both so good at the position, and could both go for a triple double in this game. It will a hotly contested matchup, but definitely one to keep your eyes on.
Philadelphia 76ers projected lineup
PG – Ben Simmons | SG – Jerryd Bayless | SF – Dario Saric | PF – Robert Covington | C – Joel Embiid |
Houston Rockets projected lineup
PG – James Harden | SG – Eric Gordon | SF – Trevor Ariza | PF – Ryan Anderson | C – Clint Capela |
There’s a strong chance that Harden will go for a triple double in the game on Monday. The Beard has averaged 25 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists in his last five games. Expect a big game from him; Houston will need it.
The over/under is set at 218, but this could end up being a high-scoring affair. Houston at home is normally a recipe for points, and the Sixers aren’t exactly a lockdown defense type of team. In fact, Philadelphia sit in the bottom half of the league in points allowed, so take the over.
Houston need a bounce-back win and the Sixers will struggle against top Western Conference opposition, so Houston takes this one by eight points.
You can catch the game on ATSW, NSPP, NBA TV and League Pass. Tip-off is at 8 pm ET.
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