You are using an old web browser. Such browsers do not support modern web technologies and do not offer proper security. Please update your browser or download one of the others suggested for free.
Mozilla Firefox |
Google Chrome |
Internet Explorer |
THE STORY: The Philadelphia 76ers are participating in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time in nine years as they open play against the division-rival Celtics in Boston on Saturday. Eighth-seeded Philadelphia defeated the injury-depleted Chicago Bulls in six games in the opening round while fifth-seeded Boston ousted the Atlanta Hawks in six games. The Celtics are in the second round for the fifth straight season. The 76ers won two of three regular-season meetings.
ABOUT THE 76ERS: Philadelphia had lost five consecutive playoff series before toppling the Bulls. Guard Andre Iguodala hit two free throws with 2.2 seconds left in Thursday’s series-clinching 79-78 victory. The 76ers won the finale despite being outrebounded 56-33 and will need to perform better in that area to upset the Celtics. Center Spencer Hawes averaged 15.5 points and 10.3 rebounds over the last four games of the Chicago series while point guard Jure Holiday averaged a team-best 18.2 points against the Bulls. Top reserve Lou Williams finished second in NBA Sixth Man of the Year alloting announced Thursday.
ABOUT THE CELTICS: Forwards Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and point guard Rajon Rondo took turns being stars in the series against Atlanta. Pierce was strong early in the series before injuring his left knee, Rondo had a triple-double in Game 3 and Garnett hit the go-ahead basket in the clinching game to cap off a performance in which he had 28 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots. Guard Ray Allen has been inconsistent while battling an ankle injury and fellow backcourt mate Avery Bradley (shoulder) also is laboring. Rondo averaged 13.3 points in the three regular-season meetings against Philadelphia.
- 76ers are 5-11 ATS in their last 16 games as an underdog.
- Celtics are 11-4-1 ATS in their last 16 home games.
- 76ers are 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings.
1. Boston and Philadelphia last met in the postseason in 2002 when the Celtics won the best-of-five first-round series 3-2.
2. Celtics coach Doc Rivers recorded his 50th postseason win on Thursday, third-most in franchise history behind Red Auerbach (90) and K.C. Jones (65).
3. Iguodala had 11 steals and just four turnovers in the six-game series with Chicago.
THE STORY: It was hard to tell what bothered Kobe Bryant more – his stomach bug or the nauseating performance put forth by his teammates in the Los Angeles Lakers' lopsided Game 6 loss at Denver on Thursday night. The Lakers will hope to avoid becoming the ninth team in NBA history to blow a 3-1 series lead when they host the resurgent Nuggets in Game 7 Saturday night. Starting forward Metta World Peace returns for Los Angeles after serving a seven-game suspension.
ABOUT THE NUGGETS: A different player seems to step up for Denver in each game, and speedy point guard Ty Lawson did the honors Thursday. Although he had back-to-back 25-point games earlier in the series, Lawson has struggled with his shot – particularly from long range. Getting desperate after going 2 of 16 from behind the arc in the first five games of the series, Lawson flew in his personal shooting coach before Game 6. The result was a playoff career-high 32 points that included making five of six 3-pointers in Denver's wire-to-wire rout. Rookie Kenneth Faried had his third double-double and is averaging 10 rebounds in the series against the Lakers’ towering front line.
ABOUT THE LAKERS: Los Angeles figured to have an enormous advantage inside with 7-footers Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. Bynum had two huge games to help the Lakers to a 2-0 series lead, but the team's twin towers experienced a remarkable disappearing act in the thin air of Denver. Bynum's stat line (11 points, 16 rebounds) suggests a decent performance, but he and Gasol combined for a mere five points in the first half Thursday. Gasol scored a season-low three points in Game 6 and has seen his point production drop in four straight games. Bryant didn't mince words when asked if his teammates matched his heart in Game 6. ''No, of course they didn't,'' he said.
- Nuggets are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
- Lakers are 4-13 ATS in their last 17 home games.
- Under is 22-8 in the last 30 meetings.
1. The Lakers are 42-1 all-time when taking a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series – the only loss coming in 1969 vs. Boston. Los Angeles is the last team to blow a 3-1 lead, falling to Phoenix in 2006.
2. The Nuggets, losers in the first round of the playoffs in seven of the past eight seasons, have advanced to a Game 7 for the first time since 1994.
3. World Peace, who hasn't played since April 22, had 14 points and eight rebounds in a 103-97 win over Denver on April 13.
The Nuggets look to take advantage of an LA team that is 1-10 ATS in its last 11 games as a home favorite of 5 to 10 1/2 points. Denver is the pick (+6) according to Dunkel, which has the Nuggets favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Denver (+6). Here are all of today's picks
Game 503-504: Philadelphia at Boston (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia 120.086; Boston 130.461
Dunkel Line & Total: Boston by 10 1/2; 167
Vegas Line & Total: Boston by 5; 170
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-5); Under
Game 747-748: Denver at LA Lakers (10:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Denver 123.277; LA Lakers 122.560
Dunkel Line & Total: Denver by 1; 193
Vegas Line & Total: LA Lakers by 6; 196
Dunkel Pick: Denver (+6); Under