How about some fireworks right out of the gate?
In one corner you have Russell Westbrook and the Wizards ... and in the other corner you have Joel Embiid and the Sixers. (Feel free to do your best Philadelphia-area native Michael Buffer impression.)
Westbrook and Embiid have had a beef in their five past prior meetings. Whether it’s been a hard foul, a stare down, or waving goodbye, the tension is high between these two All-Stars.
The Wizards acquired Westbrook this offseason from the Rockets, and Washington will hope his success over Embiid continues.
Westbrook has won all five head-to-head meetings against the Sixers big man, four of which came with the Thunder and the final matchup occurring as a member of the Rockets.
This past season the Sixers won two of three games against Washington, which may play a part in the fact that the Sixers have been installed as 7.5-point home favorites over Westbrook and the Wizards. (Odds per NBC Sports betting partner PointsBet.)
To take this rivalry one step further, PointsBet has listed a player points Embiid vs. Westbrook head-to-head wager on their platforms. Both sides have odds of -110 ($10 bet to win $9.09) to outscore the other.
In the five past meetings, Westbrook has averaged 27.4 points per game, while Embiid is right behind him at 26.4. Each player has won the points battle twice, and last season’s lone contest ended in a tie.
A big unknown for Westbrook is how he’ll pair with two-time All-Star Bradley Beal, last season’s top scorer in the Eastern Conference (30.5 points per game).
Opening night will have plenty of drama. However, this won’t be the first time we’ll see these two stars square off to start the season. Embiid’s NBA debut occurred back in 2016 against Westbrook and the Thunder.
PointsBet is NBC Sports' Official Sports Betting Partner, and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.