NBA Betting -- Harden shut out as Sixers travel to Milwaukee

  • In Charles Jay
  • Thu, Oct 26th, 2023 4:50:23 pm
  • By Charles Jay - Exclusive to OSGA

James Harden is not a part of the Philadelphia 76ers as they prepare to face the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA on Thursday.

Preview for Sixers at Bucks

We know that the big news on Thursday night in the NBA is supposed to be the pairing of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard with the Milwaukee Bucks. And hey - it's big, don't make any mistake about it. But as some BetOnline patrons probably know, the combustible situation involving James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers always has a chance to produce some drama.

And that has happened once again, as these clubs get ready to meet at 7:30 PM ET at the Fiserv Forum.

76ers Bucks preview pickHarden has wanted out of Philly ever since it became evident that he was not going to get a contract extension. They weren't moving quickly on dealing with his request for a trade either. Of course, the problem was that Harden specifically wanted to join the Clippers, and that team was not making the kind of offer that was adequate. Ultimately they took the offer off the table. Harden came to some practices, because there really wasn't any choice but to play for the Sixers, but then disappeared.

Harden wanted to board the team flight to Milwaukee, but team security prevented him from doing so. The Sixers say they wanted him to stay back and work out. This is a difficult situation, because they really have to get rid of him. But it is unquestionably a distraction.

The Giannis-Lillard combination demands that each man sacrifices something. Giannis was first in the league in Usage percentage last season, while Lillard was fifth. Will this be the kind of thing that will be easy to affect? Might it take some time? Interesting questions to ponder.

In the NBA betting odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline, the Bucks are solidly favored:

Milwaukee Bucks -6.5 (-108)
Philadelphia 76ers +6.5 (-112)

Over 227 points -115
Under 227 points -105

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The Bucks are going to need some support for their new combo, and it appears that they have it. There's a lot of veteran talent, which will include Khris Middleton, Jae Crowder and the Lopez brothers, all of whom have more than a decade in the league.

Still, you've got to believe that depth took a hit. Jrue Holiday, an All-Defensive performer, still had some time left in him.

Managing this whole situation is going to be a challenge for Adrian Griffin, the first-year head coach who has won an title ring as an assistant to Nick Nurse (now the Sixers' coach) in Toronto. Griffin had brought aboard Terry Stotts, the former head man in Portland, as an assistant. And it appeared that someway or another, Griffin's authority was being usurped, so Stotts left.

Bucks sixers preview free pickThe Bucks won 58 games last season and were #4 in the NBA's Defensive Rating. They lost to #8 seed Miami in the playoffs in just five games. BetOnline has their over-under at 54.5 wins (Over -130, Under +100).

The Sixers, who got farther in the playoffs, are more modestly priced at 48.5 wins. Harden led the NBA in assists last season. So if they can get their point guard situation settled, they may be okay. They have added some component parts, especially guys who can help them defensively, like PJ Tucker, Patrick Beverley, Mo Bamba and Danny Green. Then there is, of course, reigning MVP Joel Embiid, who can control the lane.

I think they are ready to challenge what may be an inflated number. So we'll grab the points.

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