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ESPN Double Header: a Sixers-Celtics showdown, then Kyrie Irving makes Mavs debut vs. Clips

DraftKings odds for a star studded slate. Joel Embiid squares off against Jayson Tatum as a pair of MVP candidates vie for the East’s top seed. Then Kyrie Irving makes his debut for the Mavericks, taking on Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s Philadelphia Eagles SuperBowl week so the energy levels for sports are sky high locally. On top of that, it’s NBA Trade Deadline Week, so the rumors are coming fast and furiously. But then you’ve also got a Five Star game here when the Philadelphia 76ers take on the Boston Celtics.

Aren’t you lucky as a sports fan?

Sixers at Celtics (Boston -4, Money Line -180)

According to, here is how the lineup card looks with hours to go before tip off:

Extreme Hubie Brown voice: Now, we know Joel Embiid being labeled a game time decision shouldn’t worry Sixers fans that he’s not going to play. He’ll be out there. But it is reasonable to be worried that he’s missed multiple stretches of this season with injuries to that left foot, it’s still bothering him. He’ll play, and he’ll dominate. But what you’re looking for is the big fella to make it to that All-Star Break without another setback. Thereeeeee you go.

On the other side, Marcus Smart is out. Jaylen Brown, Robert Williams, and Luke Kornett are probable.

So the Sixers should get a look at the Celtics with their two best players in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in that lineup. If for some reason or another Brown does not suit up, it’ll turn even more heads as teams wonder if Boston is cooking up a monster offer for Brooklyn Nets’ megastar Kevin Durant.

(Wouldn’t it be fun for Sixers fans if Boston scratched Brown, Smart and Williams hoping for a trade, lost tonight, then got rebuffed by Brooklyn on top?)

The Sixers looked terrific vs. the Denver Nuggets back on Jan. 28th. They’ve looked quite pedestrian since, going 2-2 with baffling losses to the Orlando Magic and New York Knicks over their last four, possessing twenty point leads in both of those stinkers.

So which Sixers can we expect this evening? When in doubt, it’s probably best to hedge. In a single game parlay, give me the Sixers to cover an alternative +8.5 (-180) spread. Derrick White over 12.5 points (-150) as he averages nearly 14 whenever Marcus Smart sits out.

Jayson Tatum will likely hurt the Sixers. I’m picking him to try to make a statement with the chance to insert his name into some national MVP discourse this evening. Toggle on JT’s over 27.5 (-190) points. And we’ll say Embiid brings it back the other way dropping at least 29 (over 28.5 points, -180).

That SGP pays us +550.

Mavericks at Clippers (L.A. -8, Money Line -325)

On the late docket, there’s plenty of reason to tune in as the wildly controversial point guard, with one of the greatest handles of all time, in Kyrie Irving is expected to make his Mavericks debut. Luka Doncic will have another high-caliber running mate once again after losing Jalen Brunson in the offseason. But Doncic has been ruled out for this game with a heel, so it will have to wait. Luka loses a very solid three-and-D wing in Dorian Finney-Smith, and a mostly capable bucket-getter in Spencer Dinwiddie. Both of those guys go to the Nets in the recent blockbuster.

Josh Bowe argues it’s the riskiest trade in Dallas’ franchise history.

Irving won’t have much time to develop chemistry with Luka. But remember, it was nearly two years ago to the day when he said this to one James Harden, when they were both in Brooklyn:

So Irving has appeared quite comfortable in an off ball role alongside a heliocentric but selfless lead guard. It won’t be his first rodeo.

Obviously Irving and Harden didn’t get to share the floor together much due to a combination of injuries and vaccine mandate ordeals, but in brief stints it certainly worked.

This Tweet below by The Athletic’s Alex Schiffer was both 13 months and a lifetime ago, as far as Nets basketball is concerned:

But all of that chemistry with Luka stuff can wait. Kyrie is free to just get buckets here. They’ll be overmatched, but he’ll probably look to put on a display for his new team.

In this one, I’m going back to a single game parlay. Give me Kawhi Leonard’s over 23.5 points (-180). I cannot picture how Jason Kidd’s team is going to slow him down. I’m taking Paul George’s over 21.5 points (-160) as well. Run that back with Irving’s over 24.5 (-210) points and the Clippers money line (-320) and that SGP pays +220.

Sure, there’s probably all kinds of blowout potential here. So if you don’t feel good about this one being a real contest, take off Leonard’s over, and pop on Norman Powell’s (over 15.5 points, -175) instead. Leave on the PG over, and the Clips money line, then just bet on Kyrie to tally 4 dimes (-650) bringing us to +290.

If Irving goes ham, be glad that it’s probably making Kevin Durant sick, and that the Brooklyn Nets may strongly consider sending KD west via trade down the line.

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