Game: Brooklyn Nets @ Philadelphia 76ers
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Odds: Nets +10, Sixers -10
In response to the Brooklyn Nets’ persistent double-teaming of Most Valuable Player contender Joel Embiid, the Philadelphia 76ers had the ideal strategy. Embiid continually passed the ball back outside and the Sixers set a franchise record by hitting 21 three-pointers. Philadelphia easily won Game 1 of the series 121-101 and looks to go up 2-0 tonight in the City of Brotherly Love.
James Harden was the primary beneficiary of many of those Embiid passes as he finished with 23 points. Harden hit 7-of-13 three-point attempts and he also finished with 13 assists. Despite being constantly double-teamed, Embiid still found a way to score a team-high 26 points. He went 11-of-11 from the free-throw line.
Three other Sixers also scored in double figures. Starters Tobias Harris (21) and Tyrese Maxey (13) hit double digits and Paul Reed came off the bench to score 11 points. Game 2 should be more difficult for the Sixers as the Nets make their adjustments to counter the Sixers’ strategy.
Brooklyn was competitive in Game 1 for most of the game. Their biggest problem, other than the Sixers hitting threes, was turnovers. Those turned into several points for Philadelphia. Mikal Bridges continues to play well and had 30 points to lead the Nets in Game 1. Cameron Johnson had 18, Spencer Dinwiddie 14, and Seth Curry added 10.
On Saturday in Game 1, the Nets allowed the Sixers to score 21 points on second chances. If the Nets want to have better success, that number needs to be lower. If Brooklyn can limit those second chances and take better care of the ball, they will have a shot to pull the upset in Game 2. That’s easier said than done.
Since April 15, 2019, the Sixers have won five straight playoff games against the Nets. Plus, Brooklyn has lost the last five straight games to the Sixers. The Nets are also 1-4 ATS in those five games. Brooklyn has not done well against the number lately either. The Nets are 5-10 ATS in their last 15 games; however, this season Brooklyn went 23-19 ATS in road games.
To have a shot tonight, the Nets are going to have to find ways to jump-start an offense that has gone cold. In the month of April heading into the playoffs, the Nets were averaging just 108.4 points per game. To give you an idea, Miami averages 109.6 points per game and ranks dead last in the NBA.
Philly is 6-2 SU in its last eight home games. They are also 9-2 SU in the last 11 games at home against Brooklyn. The Sixers are 6-3 ATS in their last nine games and they are 26-16 ATS in home games this season.
Four of the last five Sixers games have gone Over the total. Philly has been a profitable Over team this season with a 45-38 O/U record. The Sixers have now faced Brooklyn five times since the beginning of this season. Four of those games have gone Over the total. Those five games have averaged a combined 230.2 points per game.
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