Game Tonight: OKC Thunder vs 76ers Odds, Stat Comparison, Key Matchup, Predictions, for December 31st

OKC Thunder host Joel Embiid #21 and his 76ers . (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder host Joel Embiid #21 and his 76ers . (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
OKC Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scores career-best 44 vs. Pelicans. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

OKC Thunder vs. 76ers key matchup and prediction

Tyrese Maxey made his return to the hardwood after an 18-game absence due to a foot injury. He was on a minute restriction and subbed in off the bench scoring nine points on 4 of 10 from the field in 19 minutes.

The rust and lack of playing time were most noticeable on defense as he posted a team-worst minus -18.

Raising the biggest question for Doc Rivers and a dilemma to resolve. While Maxey was sidelined the 76ers make big strides defensively with either  De’Anthony Melton or Matisse Thybulle in the starting unit.

Neither Harden nor Maxey are above-average defenders and they were getting burned by speedy guards unable to slow them in transition or defend them man to man.

Doc has the aforementioned two options  – – Thybulle is the better defender while Melton is the better two-way player. Regardless, decisions will need to be made on whether Maxey becomes the Sixth Man or returns to the starting rotation.

It seems illogical to push Maxey to the bench with his star rising but teams with title aspirations need everyone to sacrifice and he might have to do that at least initially so Philly can gain some ground on the clubs seeded above them.

Side note: Tybulle ranks second on the team for the defensive box plus/minus (highest guard) while Melton is fourth and Maxey is 12th (yikes).

Crazier still is Embiid, Harden, Maxey, and Harris are the only positive offensive box plus/minus on the team albeit Melton is close to even (-0.5) and ranks sixth.

The OKC Thunder will have their hands full dealing with Joel Embiid and while they don’t have a big man/men capable of limiting him that’s something each team in the association is hampered by.

Per above, unless Rivers is willing to compensate offense for his best defenders Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will feast if he’s being guarded by Harden or Maxey.


Despite having the rest advantage Vegas taps the 76ers as favorites with too healthy of a margin in my opinion based on the limited portion of their roster who is offensive and the improved defense of the Thunder.

Take the points and we’ll cross our fingers that SGA and the Thunder have something to celebrate as they exit Paycom to ring in 2023!

What channel is the Thunder-76ers game on?

Per usual the game will be broadcast on Bally Sports Oklahoma or NBA League Pass. Tip-Off is set for 8:00 p.m. EST (7:00 CT) from the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

OKC Thunder vs. 76ers Live Stream

If you need a live stream of the event, check out FuboTV for a free trial!

Thunder Next Game and Schedule

The OKC Thunder enter the New Year with four matches on the slate including three home games and one road contest. They’ll begin 2023 with a home and road back-to-back featuring the Celtics and Magic on Tuesday/Wednesday. Then finish week 12 back at home hosting the Wizards and Mavericks on Friday and Sunday.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

Next. Parity pack and Thunder schedules leading into trade deadline. dark