Last Updated: 2019-04-12
The No. 6 seed Brooklyn Nets and the No. 3 seed Philadelphia 76ers will lock horns in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, and the Sixers are listed as huge -600 favorites to reach the semifinals, while the Nets are +450 underdogs in this series. The regular-season series was ended in a 2-2 tie whereas each team has been victorious on the road once, so it seems like the Nets certainly stand a chance against the Sixers in the postseason.
Rarely who could expect to see the Brooklyn Nets (42-40; 45-37 ATS) finishing at the 6th spot of the Eastern Conference standings, but Kenny Atkinson did a terrific job with his boys, despite all injury problems throughout the season. Caris LeVert played in just 40 games due to a foot injury, while Spencer Dinwiddie missed 14 games with a thumb injury. Allen Crabbe is probably out for the season, but all other guys, including LeVert and Dinwiddie, are ready for the playoffs. The Nets won ten of their last 17 games overall and 13 of their previous 20 outings at home, while they are 19-22 straight up and 25-16 ATS on the road this season. Last year, the Nets finished 12th in the East with a 28-54 record.
Brooklyn is scoring 109.7 points per 100 possessions (19th in the league) on 52.0 effective field goal percentage (18th) while making 35.3% of their 3-pointers (15th). The Nets are making 23.3 assists (23rd) and 14.7 turnovers (25th) per 100 possessions, posting 45.5 rebounds (13th). On the other side, they are allowing 109.7 points in a return (14th in the league) on 51.2 effective field goal percentage (tied-6th) while forcing 13.1 turnovers (24th).
D’Angelo Russell is a key player in Kenny Atkinson’s team, averaging 21.1 points and 7.0 assists per game. Russell is shooting 43.4% from the field and 36.8% from beyond the arc, and he’s a go-to-guy in clutch time. Spencer Dinwiddie is doing a great job off the bench, tallying 16.8 points and 4.6 assists per contest, and he often closes down games alongside Russell. Caris LeVert is pretty inconsistent since returning from an injury, averaging 13.4 points per game on 45.3% shooting over his previous ten outings. Center Jarrett Allen is a true defensive anchor, posting 10.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks a night.
The Philadelphia 76ers (51-31; 38-44 ATS) finished the regular season at the 2nd spot of the Atlantic Division standings seven games behind the Raptors. It was a turbulent period for the Sixers who acquired Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris via trades with Minnesota and LA Clippers, and it seems like the Sixers are still learning how to play together. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are still running the Sixers’ offense, but the head coach Brett Brown has to pick up the pieces as soon as possible. Phila won ten of its last 16 games overall and seven of its previous 14 showings on the road, while the Sixers are 31-10 straight up and 21-20 ATS at home this season.
Philadelphia is scoring 112.6 points per 100 possessions (8th in the league) on 53.2 effective field goal percentage (also 8th) and 35.9% shooting from beyond the 3-point line (9th), making 26.3 assists (4th) and 14.6 turnovers (24th), and posting 46.7 rebounds (5th). The Sixers are surrendering 110.0 points per 100 possessions (15th in the league) on 51.2 effective field goal percentage (tied-6th) while forcing just 12.5 turnovers (28th).
Joel Embiid is enjoying a wonderful season, averaging 27.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per contest. Embiid missed 18 games mostly due to knee soreness, and he needs to stay healthy if the Sixers want to make a deep playoff run. Ben Simmons is tallying 16.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game, but his jump shot is still harmless. Jimmy Butler is recording 18.2 points, 5.3 boards, and 4.0 assists per game, while Tobias Harris is adding 18.2 points and 7.9 rebounds a night. J.J. Redick completes the starting five, and veteran sharpshooter is averaging 18.1 points per game. However, the Sixers’ second unit could be a big issue, missing a player who can make the difference off the bench.
Pick: Philadelphia 76ers (-600)
If the Nets replicate their performance from the regular-season series, they could cause a lot of troubles for the Sixers. In three of their four meetings with Philadelphia this term, the Nets surpassed a 120-point mark, and the Sixers will have to tighten up their defense if they want to eliminate Brooklyn. The Sixers have an advantage when it comes to the playoff experience, and Joel Embiid will be their major offensive force. Besides Jarrett Allen, the Nets lack another guy who can cope with Embiid. Therefore, I think the Sixers will beat the Nets in six games with a lot of drama during the series.
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