Tune-In Tidbits: ESPN Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020
Brooklyn Nets (18-21) at Philadelphia 76ers (25-16), 7:00 ET, ESPN
In his first two games since returning from injury that kept him out nearly two month, Kyrie Irving has averaged 26.5 points and 7.0 assists while shooting 73.3% (22-30) from the field and 66.7% (4-6) from beyond the arc.
Brooklyn fell to Utah 118-107 on Tuesday in the first game of their fifth back-to-back set this season. So far, the Nets are 2-2 on the second night of a back-to-back. The Nets have averaged 107.3 points on 44.9% shooting in those situations.
Brooklyn won the first meeting of the season with Philadelphia, 109-89, on Dec. 15 in a game the Sixers played without Joel Embiid (he will miss Wednesday’s game as well). The 89 points were the fewest scored in a game this season by the Sixers and the 20-point margin marked their biggest loss of the season.
The Sixers have been 6.8 points per 100 possessions better with Joel Embiid on the court, compared to when he’s off the court. Philadelphia’s defensive rating climbs from 99.5 with Embiid on the court to 108.0 when he’s off; that -8.5 differential is the fourth-highest among the 173 players that have played at least 800 minutes this season.
Portland Trail Blazers (17-24) at Houston Rockets (26-13), 9:30 ET, ESPN
James Harden (18.6 per game) and Russell Westbrook (18.4 per game) rank fourth and sixth, respectively, in drives per game. The Rockets generate 28.2 points per game from drives, the fifth highest-average in the league.
James Harden scored 41 points in Houston’s loss to Memphis on Tuesday. It was only the second time that the Rockets lost this season when Harden scored at least 40 points; Houston is 14-2 this season when Harden drops 40 points.
The Rockets won the first meeting of the season with the Blazers, 132-108, behind a 36-point game from James Harden, a triple-double for Russell Westbrook (28 points, 13 rebonds, 10 assists) and a 20-20 game for Clint Capela (22 points, 20 rebounds).
No NBA player averages more distance traveled than Portland’s CJ McCollum at 2.78 miles per game.
The matchup features the top three players in scoring on isolation plays; James Harden leads at 17.1 points per game, while Russell Westbrook (6.2) and Damian Lillard (4.8). Harden (55.0%) and Lillard (52.6%) have the highest effective field goal percentages on isos.