Philadelphia 76ers vs Brooklyn Nets Preview March 10 | James Harden vs Ben Simmons

Sixers vs Nets March 10 Preview

The Philadelphia 76ers-Brooklyn Nets rivalry got dialed up several notches after the blockbuster trade deadline deal that sent superstar guard James Harden to Philadelphia on Feb. 10.

Brooklyn, which had been the betting favorite to win the NBA championship for much of the season, was mired in a nine-game losing streak when it made the trade that ultimately ended at 11. Nets general manager Sean Marks shook up their roster while trying to keep its season from falling into the abyss.

The Nets received a package of picks and players for Harden, headlined by disgruntled guard Ben Simmons, who had not played for the 76ers this season and still has not suited up for the Nets yet.

On March 10, Simmons will make his return to Philadelphia and Harden will face off against his former Nets teammates. Here’s a look at what to expect for that game.

When Will Ben Simmons Play Against the Sixers?

All eyes will be on South Philly, and specifically Wells Fargo Center on March 10, when the Nets trek south for their fourth and final regular-season meeting of 2021-22. 

James Harden for Ben Simmons Trade Details

The Sixers — and specifically Daryl Morey — finally got their man when they acquired Harden, along with Paul Millsap, from Brooklyn for Simmons, Seth CurryAndre Drummond, and two first-round picks (2022 and 2027).


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Impact of the James Harden for Ben Simmons Trade

Where do we begin?

The will-they, won’t-they saga involving the Nets and Harden ended, and from Brooklyn’s perspective, the drama is in the rear-view (though with guard Kyrie Irving’s continued spot on the roster, the theatrics are never completely out of the question).

The Nets also got younger, longer, deeper, and better defensively thanks to Simmons, a two-time All-Defensive Team member.

The Nets picked up valuable futures in the two first-round picks. Brooklyn does not have its first-round pick this season — it was dealt in the package that Brooklyn initially sent out to acquire Harden just 13 months ago. The Sixers’ first-round pick might be No. 30 this year, and 2027 is a long way off, but Brooklyn will avoid going multiple consecutive seasons without a draft selection, which could enable it to reload on the fly.

Curry may be something of a journeyman, but he found a home in Philadelphia and emerged from the shadows as Steph Curry’s brother. The younger Curry was averaging a career-high 15 points per game at the time of the trade and has averaged 15 per game through 10 post-trade games.

Curry is quietly the fourth-most efficient 3-point shooter in NBA history (43.7 percent), trumping his brother, who ranks 11th all-time at 42.7 percent, and has shot .446 from beyond the arc during his brief Nets tenure.

Drummond has provided the Nets much-needed beef up front and has averaged 10 points and nine rebounds per game in nine games since the trade. He had a season-high 20 points and 14 boards in Brooklyn’s 132-121 win in Charlotte on Tuesday in its final tuneup before the rivalry matchup Thursday.

Still, Philadelphia also must feel like it won. The 76ers have ridden their own roller coaster of drama, which should calm now that they settled the Simmons saga.

Simmons had been holding out due to comments made by center Joel Embiid and coach Doc Rivers after Philadelphia’s premature second-round exit to the Atlanta Hawks in 2021, which cast a shadow over the team’s season. The 76ers, who people forget were the No. 1 seed in the East a year ago, sat in the No. 5 spot at the time of the trade yet will enter play Thursday as the No. 3 seed.

Plus, Philadelphia got Harden, and he is highly-motivated to bring a championship to the city. He has been invigorated by playing with the 76ers, who at times had looked sluggish and disinterested, averaging 24.6 points, 12.4 assists and more than seven rebounds per game in five games since the trade.

Philadelphia’s offense, which ranked just 20th in the NBA in points per game at the time of the trade, has taken off, averaging more than 125 points per game in games Harden has played since the trade.  

Harden — and Millsap, to an extent — have also helped out Philadelphia’s woeful rebounding. The Sixers ranked dead-last in the league in rebounds per game (42.1) but is now tied for last with the Houston Rockets.

James Harden, Brooklyn Nets

James Harden will play his old Nets team on March 10 as a member of the 76ers. (Image: USA TODAY Sports)


Sixers and Nets Trade Impact on Futures Betting

The Nets had been the odds-on favorite all season to win the NBA championship, largely due to Harden and first-half MVP candidate Kevin Durant. Their odds have since dipped thanks to a 7-19 stretch and 11-game losing streak, that coincided with Durant’s sprained MCL, that has put their postseason status in jeopardy. 

Even through all that, Brooklyn is still the third-favorite to win the title come June, earning the top spot in the Eastern Conference (+600) more than a month after the trade. They’ll enter play having lost six of 10 but defeated Charlotte, led by Irving’s 50-point effort, in a very important game Tuesday.

The Sixers seem to be the benefactors of Brooklyn’s slide. Philadelphia sat at (+1400) on Feb. 7, yet jumped to (+700) once the Harden rumors gained steam. They remain behind the Nets and Milwaukee Bucks for the third-shortest odds of any Eastern Conference team (+650).

Sixers and Nets Trade Impact on Prop Betting

Harden was averaging 16 shots per game for Brooklyn, and those attempts will have to be dispersed elsewhere now. Curry’s 3-point props will also be interesting to consider since he has largely corrected the Nets’ woes from beyond the arc.

Brooklyn’s 3-point shooting percentage dipped from second in the NBA last season (39.2 percent) to just 15th (35.2) at the time of the trade as the Nets have missed Joe Harris, who has appeared in just 14 games but will miss the rest of the season due to an ankle injury. Brooklyn shot just 33.5 percent from deep from the time he went down to the time of the trade, yet has climbed to 12th in the NBA in 3-point shooting thanks in part to Curry..

When Harden is motivated, he’s a triple-double machine — he ranks second on the Nets’ list for triple-doubles in franchise history (21) despite playing just 80 games, including 10 this season.

Those odds are typically long since triple-doubles don’t happen most nights, so keep an eye out for value there. This could be a money prop down the stretch, as Harden has already put up a triple-double in two games for Philly.

Harden’s 3-point shooting prop is one to consider most nights, since his 33.2 percentage this season — which would be a full-season career-low — can only go up. Plus, Philadelphia will need him now that Curry is out. Harden has helped addressed this need so far, going 13-of-29 (44.8%) from beyond the arc in five games.

He’s fit in like a glove in this Sixers’ offense, averaging almost 25 points, almost eight rebounds, and more than 12 assists in five games.

As for Embiid, the MVP favorite will now get some reinforcements, which should boost his freshness. That’ll make his points-assists-rebounds prop a must-consider on a nightly basis. Embiid has averaged almost 47 points-assists-rebounds with Harden so far. The two superstars have shown instant chemistry.

Will Ben Simmons Play Against the Sixers on March 10?

That’s the $900-plus question — the average price of a ticket to the game on the SeatGeek app.

Simmons is officially dealing with a back injury will not suit up for Brooklyn in time to make his season debut. Simmons will travel to Philadelphia with the team. Philadelphia isn’t exactly a friendly environment, especially given the perception that Simmons quit on the team. He’s likely to receive a vitriolic reception from the home crowd.

Should the Nets persevere through the inevitable Simmons taunts and hostile, playoff-style environment, it could stand to galvanize Brooklyn for its potential run toward the playoffs.

James Harden’s Immediate Impact on the Sixers

Philadelphia went all-in to win a championship this season with the Harden trade, but he missed six of Brooklyn’s previous eight games leading up to the trade due to a hand injury and a hamstring ailment.Those injuries kept him out of the lineup until after the All-Star break, but he’s been absolutely dominant in two games since returning to action. 

When Harden is healthy and motivated, he’s still one of the best players in basketball. That looks to be the case right now, putting Philly firmly among the championship favorites.

Not only has he helped take the load off Embiid, but he’s also allowed Tyrese Maxey to flourish as the third option in the offense. Maxey has shot 59.5% from the field and 61.3% from three-point range for 23.5 points per game since Harden has entered the fray, including a 33-point outburst in the Sixers’ 125-119 win over Cleveland on March 4 that matched a career-high.

Sixers vs Nets Projected Lineups

The Nets are 2-1 against the Sixers this season, but that record is essentially meaningless now.

Irving, who missed each of the previous three matchups while sitting out due to an array of controversies centered around his decision not to take the COVID-19 vaccine, expects to be in the lineup. 

Simmons has already been declared out, and with Durant and forward/center Nic Claxton now healthy, the Nets starting lineup on March 10 should look something like this:

Nets Projected Lineup

  • Guard: Kyrie Irving
  • Guard: Seth Curry
  • Forward: Kevin Durant
  • Forward: Bruce Brown
  • Forward: Andre Drummond

The Nets have rolled out more than 30 starting lineups throughout the season, so this is an educated guess. However, they’ve gone with this lineup in each of their last two games, so it seems like the most likely option.

Some players who will be available off the bench for Brooklyn includes Goran Dragic, Patty Mills, Claxton, James Johnson, Cam Thomas, and Kessler Edwards. LaMarcus Aldridge (hip) has been ruled out.

Here’s a look at Philadelphia’s likely starting lineup:

76ers Projected Lineup

  • Guard: James Harden
  • Guard: Tyrese Maxey
  • Forward: Matisse Thybulle
  • Forward: Tobias Harris
  • Center: Joel Embiid

The Sixers hung onto Maxey and Thybulle, each of whom was rumored to be heavily coveted by the Nets in the Harden trade. Philly should have Millsap, Danny Green, Furkan Korkmaz, Georges Niang, DeAndre Jordan, Shake Milton, and Isaiah Joe available as subs.

Betting Picks

From Thursday’s NBA Best Bets:

The Over is trending for both of these teams. It’s hit in 11 of Brooklyn’s last 14 games, including seven of their last eight on the road. Moreover, the Over has hit in six of Philadelphia’s last nine matchups with the Nets.

over-under

-110

Nets @ 76ers: OVER 233.5 Pts

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As far as futures as concerned, Brooklyn’s odds for an NBA championship have nearly tripled since the preseason, jumping from (+230) to (+450) at the time of the trade and now at (+600). When healthy, the Nets are still arguably the best team in the league, but they need their stars back and fast.

If they can stay out of the play-in tournament — and there’s still time for them to do so in the wide-open East — they still could be a tough out.

The 76ers, meanwhile, should roll through the rest of the regular season. Make their games a fixture in your multi-leg, any-night parlays, and be sure to take their moneyline odds when they dip below (-200) barring injuries.

Taking advantage of Embiid as the MVP (-120) should also be a worthwhile wager.

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