Tonight’s must-see TV doubleheader begins (hopefully) with a long-awaited matchup between Joel Embiid and his ex. Brooklyn Nets teammate, Ben Simmons. Harden, James Kyrie Irving and Seth Curry will also play. Royce O’Neal, who the Nets acquired with the Sixers’ 2023 draft pick, will play. Kevin Durant won’t as he recovers from an MCL sprain.

Ben Simmons: After blockbuster trade involving Daryl Morey and Nets General Manager Sean Marks, Brooklyn decided to defer the option they acquired from 2022 to 2023.

So the Sixers acquired De’Anthony Melton from Memphis in exchange for their own 2022 draft pick and Danny Green. That left the Nets with the Sixers’ 2023 draft pick, which they later traded for former Jazz wingman O’Neal. We’re still waiting to see if and when the Nets trade their Sixers’ 2027 first-round pick for more help. They’d be crazy not to, especially with Durant still in his prime.

Given Ben SimmonsOngoing back issues and lack of aggression as a scorer, I’m sure the Nets have been disappointed with his return thus far (the latter seems to date back to his last game as a Sixer). And I’m sure the Sixers are happy with what James Harden has contributed recently, if not last season. They’re pretty good, if you hadn’t noticed. Perhaps both teams would argue that this was a win-win situation. Maybe maybe not.

We still don’t know if Joel Embiid will play as of this writing, though ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne says she expects him to.

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After watching Kyrie Irving practically single-handedly defeat Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors in California the other night, a five-point spread suggests oddsmakers believe The Process will blow his second chance to meet his former teammate of Ben Simmons.

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The last time the teams met, Philadelphia dealt with Kevin Durant, Irving and Ben Simmons without Embiid, James Harden or Tyrese Maxey. How did it happen? Tobias Harris had 24 points, De’Anthony Melton had 22, and Paul Reed had a monster 19-point, ten-rebound, two-steal, two-block double-double.

But that was before Reed was benched in favor of Montrezl Harrell, and the Nets went on to win 19 of their next 22 games. And of course, KD suffered an MCL sprain that will keep him out for at least a few weeks.

We don’t know the exact status of Embiid’s sore foot. However, it seems to be an ongoing problem. He has had a good five days off and still appears to be a decision for playing time. Not ideal.

With this in mind, I go with a Single Game Parlay and bet the Sixers alternate line -1.5. (-180). That gives me a real chance to cover the two points if Embiid doesn’t play, and I’ll love my chances if he does. Irving has been on a tear recently. And if the Sixers couldn’t stop Zach LaVine, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander or De’Aaron Fox recently, I don’t see why they should have a better chance against an even more talented ball handler and all-time finisher.

We bank Irving over 29.5. (-105). Nicolas Claxton has scored 15 or more points in each of his last five games. We have charged him with 14 or more offenses (-200). He’ll probably get to that if Embiid fits, and he’ll probably smash it if Joel can’t or is limited. Our parlay odds are currently paying +450, so feel free to stop there.

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But we have #revengegame tales for the guy Nets fans apparently refer to as Ben Ten. If he’s too scared to dunk on the Sixers, how about he transition to 7.5 assists (+120) and hope for the fading prestige that a triple-double still brings, so it crashes glass (over 7.5 boards , +110). If you stack these two bets on top we are now at +2200. If you believe James Harden, who leads the NBA in assists per game, can get another 10 assists (over 9.5, -210), we’re at a cool +3000, with our $5 paying out $155.

Shame, shame, shame on DraftKings for not allowing us to bet on Ben Simmons hitting two free throws in the second half and providing the entire county with a nugget. If Doc Rivers can’t be stopped, he should try some Hack-a-Clax or Hack-a-Ben.

Play with a few of them or just smash them all and try to win big. That’s what I want to do. If you hit, you can bet your entire winnings on the birds this Sunday.

A rematch of one of the most entertaining series of last year’s playoffs, at least before Ja Morant got hurt.

Memphis is 2.5 games behind the Denver Nuggets for first place in the Western Conference. The Warriors are 10.5 games behind. Despite this, the two teams are neck and neck in title odds on DraftKings (+950 for the Grizzlies and +1000 for the reigning champions, respectively). No matter how slow the defending champs start, oddsmakers have a lot of faith in Curry and company, as they should.

Anyone up for a one-game parlay? Let’s get it.

That Grizzlies have lost three games in a row to the Lakers, Suns and Kings. And now they face an even tougher task from The Bay. Still, it’s hard to dismiss this team, especially with Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. back from early season absence and in rhythm. They had won 11 in a row before this blip. And at these odds, I think it’s worth betting on them getting back on track.

I’m not sure who will win and I can’t bring myself to take Memphis’ +150 money line. Throw if you like it. But I’ll nervously pay for the alternative +6.5 (-165) line if they keep it close. On DraftKings, the Warriors allow the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing shooting guards. So I’ll go with over (19.5, -180) for Desmond Bane points.

The Warriors are also in the bottom five against opposing point guards. Teams continue to target Steph Curry on defense. Then put the Morant point above (27.5, -155) on. Going back the other way, Curry’s over 25.5 (-170) feels relatively safe.

On that parlay we are now at +500.

If you think Jaren Jackson Jr. want to score 14 points or more, you can take 13.5 over (-185) to increase this to +750. Then we’ll be able to find a few NBA stars to score in the late night game.


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