The NBA on ESPN has another thrilling slate of double-headers awaiting diehard basketball fans, and you won’t want to miss a single matchup on Wednesday night. Buckle up as the Philadelphia 76ers host the Brooklyn Nets before the Memphis Grizzlies traverse the west coast for a meeting with the Golden State Warriors.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Brooklyn Nets (6:30 PM CT)
Philadelphia has gone an exceptional 9-2 since the new year began, rising to second place in the Eastern Conference and performing like a potential title contender. Their high-caliber offense averaged an unbelievable 120.9 points per game throughout January while shooting roughly 50% from the field, 40% from three, and 85% from the line.
Despite consistently lighting up the scoreboard, the Sixers enter the night with uncertainty around the status of their All-NBA center Joel Embiid. No one can duplicate his two-way dominance, though James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris will shoulder the task of replacing his enormous point production against a top-ten defense.
The Nets will also be without their resident superstar Kevin Durant, which should level the playing field for these familiar Atlantic Division opponents tonight. With that said, having a generational bucket-getter in Kyrie Irving has relieved some of their scoring concerns. T.J. Warren, Nic Claxton, and Seth Curry have stepped up their games too.
Perhaps the most meaningful storyline from this matchup is Ben Simmons making his second and final regular-season return to The City of Brotherly Love. The three-time All-Star received a wintry welcome from former fans in round one, and he should expect more of the same. Brooklyn could pull off an upset, but you shouldn’t bet on them.
Golden State Warriors vs. Memphis Grizzlies (9:00 PM CT)
The return of Steph Curry was supposed to get Golden State back on the right track, but the reigning league champions have continued fighting for their lives to remain at or near .500 over the last couple of weeks. Though their space-and-pace system has yielded a prolific 122.3 points per game over that span, their defense has been an issue.
Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, and Kevon Looney have been the only consistent stoppers on the Warriors this season. And they sorely miss the stability that role players like Gary Payton II, Damion Lee, and Otto Porter Jr. gave them a year ago. For all the firepower Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole provide, they have been defensive liabilities.
After winning a season-high 11 games in a row, Memphis has slipped back to reality, losing three straight to open an unforgiving Western Conference road trip. Their latest outing witnessed them fall to the Kings in a 33-point blowout, and they will seek to put that dreadful performance behind them for good during their pitstop in San Francisco.
The Grizzlies might be in a slump, but they still lay claim to the third-best record in the association. And with a three-headed monster of Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson Jr. spearheading a dangerous offense, this young group has the talent to unseat any opponent. The oddsmakers favor the visitors, and you probably should too.