We have a couple of big Game 3s in the NBA on Friday night, and we expect them to be close ones, with the DraftKings Sportsbook lines sitting at near pick’ems. I’ll be taking a side in each game, as well as a prop that I think could be worth riding.
The 76ers got smacked in the face by the Hawks to start this series on Sunday, trailing by upwards of 20 points in the first half. But they eventually made in-game adjustments and figured out a way to get back in the game, as Atlanta got the win after it came down to a final possession.
While the Hawks had their moments getting hot from downtown in Game 2, it was mostly domination by the Sixers, particularly early and late in the game. Most importantly, we should see less Danny Green, and almost exclusively Ben Simmons and Matisse Thybulle covering Trae Young — which did limit him in Game 2. Meanwhile, the Hawks continue to have zero answer for Joel Embiid. I’ll back Philly’s adjustments and the Embiid advantage, which should be enough to grind out a road win in Game 3.
As good as Clint Capela is, he’s still no match for Embiid, nor is anyone else even close on the Hawks’ roster. Despite playing through a partially torn meniscus, Embiid showed zero signs of slowing down, scoring 79 total points through the first two games of the series, and attempting at least 15 free throws in each game. His dominance should continue on the road.
The Suns have absolutely dominated the first two games of this series in blowout fashion, and I’m not sure shifting the scenery to Denver is going to make much of a difference. The Suns have been an above average road team all season, and were an NBA-best 10-6 straight up as an underdog this season.
Yes, the Suns might have to withstand an early surge from the Nuggets following Nikola Jokic receiving his MVP Award in front of the home fans, but they should be able to withstand it and finish strong. Denver was able to keep up with Portland due to the lack of defense being played. Phoenix is elite on the defensive end, and it’s been obvious so far in this series. The Suns have also been unfazed on the road this postseason, winning the last two games in Los Angeles in blowout fashion.
MPJ was dealing with a back injury entering Game 2, and we correctly backed the under on this prop for that game on Wednesday. Even in a more cushy situation playing at home, I’ll continue to back the under for three reasons. Most importantly, back issues have been a massive issue for Porter for a while now, and really seems to impact his play. I’m not expecting him to be himself. Will Barton returned to the rotation Wednesday and played 16 minutes. If his minutes continue to rise, it takes a bit away from MPJ. And finally, I’m just not convinced we don’t see another blowout here.
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