76ers @ Hawks Game 6 Prediction: Expect Sixers scoring woes to continue
In the first of two games on the Friday night slate, Zach Rainey makes his picks with a bonus prop ahead of Game 6...
What more could you ask for on a wonderful Friday evening?
We have two big-time elimination NBA Playoff games, starting with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Atlanta Hawks.
Typically, it’s been the teams from Atlanta that tend to collapse in the second half, not Philadelphia. Sorry Atlanta fans.
I said coming into these playoffs that, on paper, Philadelphia was undoubtedly one of the league’s top talents. But as we’ve come to see in these last two games, those same problems that have plagued Philly in the playoffs in years past are still prevalent today.
Despite their collapse, Philly is a -3.5 favorite on the road tonight as the Hawks look to close out the series in Atlanta.
The offense still gets stagnant and everyone basically just hopes that Embiid will eventually start making shots. Based on the last two articles, you can probably tell how I feel about Ben Simmons being on the floor at this point. Want to know just how much of a log jam Simmons is offensively? He hasn’t attempted a field goal in the fourth quarters of Game 4 or Game 5.
Most of the pushback I get about Simmons is him being a member of the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team. Fair point, but if his job is to play defense on Trae Young, and Young still ends up with 39, seven assists and three steals, what is he really doing out there.
The Sixers wasted an immaculate Seth Curry game in which he shot 7-for-12 from downtown for 36 points, just behind Embiid’s 37. The only problem was that no other Sixers player was in double figures.
I’m also not sure how, after all these years in the league and stops along the way, Doc Rivers can’t stop a run. Whether it’s a run in one single quarter, or a multi-game run. Last season, he saw his team eliminated by the Denver Nuggets after having a 3-1 series lead. Just five years earlier, Rivers’ Los Angeles Clippers had a 3-1 series lead before being eliminated by Houston. See what I mean?
In my last piece previewing this series, I said Tobias Harris needed to step up as the team’s No. 2 option. If he did, Sixers would’ve taken Game 5 and avoided that monumental collapse. Instead, he shot 2-for-11 for four points four rebounds and three assists. Not exactly stepping up.
From a guy that has as high of a price tag as Harris, those numbers are downright unacceptable. But good news Sixers fans, there’s only three more years of his 5-year, $180 million salary and you’ll only have to pay him $36 million next year.
I think Atlanta closes it out tonight and closes out the series against a team that’s probably better than them, but will gladly take the Hawks +3. In Game 5, they zoomed in on Harris after a turnover and he just looks like he’s lost all confidence in himself, and I think a lot of the team has too.
For our prop of the night, I’m trusting my gut and what I saw in Game 5 and taking Harris’ under 21.5 points. As series go on, teams tend to start to figure each other out, and I think that’s exactly what the Hawks have done with Philly. To be fair, the blueprint has been there for a few seasons now, so they’re not exactly trail blazers. But they’ve made Philly start to doubt themselves, and their second-half struggles continue.
BONUS PROP: Just for fun, I think I’m going to dabble on Philly’s under fourth quarter points under 27.5. They scored 18 in the fourth in Game 4 and 17 in Game 5.