We are winding through the final Wednesdays of the NBA regular season, so prepare your pocketbook for a few more ESPN NBA doubleheaders. Tonight, the Dallas Mavericks take on the Philadelphia 76ers at 4:30 p.m. (PDT) followed by a clash between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns at 7:00 p.m. (PDT). The star power is out in force tonight, so read on to see who’s available for tonight’s matchups. We’ll start, as always, with the early game.
DAL Spread: +4 (-110) Moneyline: +150
PHI Spread: -4 (-110) Moneyline: -175
Things to consider…
1) Sixers center Joel Embiid (right calf) and guard James Harden (left Achilles) are both questionable to play. Embiid sat out Monday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets due to schedule density, while Harden has not played in any of the last four contests. It was reported on Monday that Harden was targeting a return either today or Friday.
2) The Mavericks enter this contest with a fairly clean bill of health, the exceptions being Frank Ntilikina (right knee) and Maxi Kleber (right hamstring), who are both questionable to play. Guard Kyrie Irving has been dealing with right foot soreness of late, but does not appear on the injury report at this time.
3) Although the Mavericks are healthier, they’re playing on the road where they are 15-23. Both teams have lost four of their last five games and are looking to break out of a mild slump, but the Sixers will have the edge even if one of Embiid or Harden misses action. If both are unable to play, the complexion changes.
Main takeaways: Embiid has to play as many games as possible from here on out to keep his MVP aspirations alive, so expect his questionable designation to read more like “probable.” Were I to put money on a winner tonight, the Sixers would be my pick.
And now, the late game.
MIN Spread: +5.5 (-115) Moneyline: +180
PHO Spread: -5.5 (-105) Moneyline: -210
1) Suns forward Kevin Durant (left ankle) has a “probable” designation heading into this game, though Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that he will indeed make his return to game action tonight after missing Phoenix’s last 10 contests.
2) On the Timberwolves end of the injury report, guard Anthony Edwards (right ankle) and forward Karl-Anthony Towns (right calf) are probable as well. Towns sustained his injury in November and only returned just last week. Having sat for injury management against the Sacramento Kings on Monday, he should be good to go tonight.
3) The Suns are hosting this one and boast a 24-12 home record. With a finally healthy roster and a two-game winning streak to build upon, look for Phoenix to take tonight’s matchup. While Durant has only appeared in three games for the team so far, the Suns won each of them convincingly.
Main takeaways: As long as Durant plays – which he should – the Suns will be heavy favorites. It’s not worth betting on the underdog here unless you’re convinced that the Edwards/Towns tandem has something heretofore unseen up its sleeve, given Towns’ lengthy absence this season.