76ers @ Hawks Predictions: Philly -3 is the way to go
The first of the two games in the NBA tonight sees the Hawks and 76ers face-off. Zachary Rainey makes his picks ahead of the game...
Before we get into the Philadelphia 76ers vs Atlanta Game 4, let’s go over a few things that happened this weekend.
While I would love to start with the Phoenix Suns completing the sweep of the Denver Nuggets, the big news out of the weekend has to be the Milwaukee Bucks evening the series at two against the Brooklyn Nets and Kyrie Irving getting hurt in the process.
Irving’s x-ray results on his ankle came back negative, but the superstar point guard is still questionable for Game 5 back in Brooklyn Tuesday night. As of writing this, the Bucks have opened as -3 favorites. I’m anxious to see if Irving will be able to go in that one, of if Harden is coincidentally ready to go.
In the Western Conference semifinals, we just saw the Suns make quick work of the league’s Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. I can’t say I’m surprised, and I doubt anyone out there really is. Not to discredit what Phoenix just did or is doing on this playoff run, but the Nuggets had Jokic and that’s really it.
I’m not sure whether it was Jokic realizing that no matter what he did offensively, his team would lose, or if it was Austin Rivers taking shots like it was his team. Either way, we saw Jokic, who most of the time is this likable, fun, and sometimes goofy guy, absolutely snap late in the third and maliciously attempted to swat the ball out of Cameron Payne’s hands.
Once he got to the bench and they were reviewing the foul, Jokic’s normal demeanor returned, but for a second, I thought I was watching an episode of Supernatural and that Jokic was going to unhinge his jaw and swallow Payne whole.
With Denver’s only real chance at even winning a game in the locker room, I instantly felt comfortable in my Phoenix -3 bet, despite Denver making a little bit of a run when Javale McGee entered the game. I also was able to cash Phoenix to win the series at -220.
Now that we’ve got the weekend essentially summed up, let’s take a look at our Eastern Conference matchup.
Ever since the Hawks came out hot in Game 1 after their gentleman’s sweep of the New York Knicks, I haven’t seen any of that same confidence or style of play from Atlanta. Philly has taken the last two games by exactly 16 points.
One of the reasons for Philly’s success has been the play of Joel Embiid. I honestly thought Clint Capela would hold his own against Joel Embiid better than he is. Embiid is averaging 35.3 points per game, 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks per game and is reminding us that, if he was healthy for more of the season, he would’ve been in the MVP race as well.
Despite Philly’s dominance in the last two games, they’re only a -3 favorite heading into Game 4. I know Philly was average on the road this season while Atlanta had a pretty impressive home streak going on before Game 3’s loss, but Philly is by far the more talented team here. Just like in the Phoenix series, I’m taking the more talented team once again tonight.
Let’s roll with Philly -3 tonight as they look to take a 3-1 lead back to Philly.