Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record through Apr. 22: 26-29-1 ATS, 0-6 ML (minus-12.63 units), 36-23-1 Totals
Brooklyn (1-3 SU and ATS) at Philadelphia (3-1 SU and ATS)
Tuesday, 8:00 p.m. ET, TNT
Free NBA Pick: 76ers ATS
Recommended Sportsbook: 5Dimes
You would have thought the Brooklyn Nets would have done better in their first-round series with the Philadelphia 76ers. At least we would have thought that here at the home office, and we would have been even more convinced after the Nets (+6.5 away) beat Philly 111-102 in Game 1. The Sixers have chemistry issues, a somewhat thin bench, and a one-legged center in Joel Embiid. The Nets are a young and quietly competent team on the rise. What could go wrong?
Plenty. Philadelphia have come back to win three straight SU and ATS, including a pair of blowouts, putting a stranglehold on this series heading into Tuesday’s Game 5 at home. The Sixers are 8-point favorites on the NBA odds board as we go to press, up from –7.5 at the open – and that’s still a bargain price, according to the hoop nerds at FiveThirtyEight. They’ve got Philly at –11 on their computers. Looks like we’ll be dining on chalk after all.
Mind you, this series could easily be tied 2-2 SU and ATS. Saturday’s Game 4 in Brooklyn was a close one, with the Sixers (–3.5) coming from behind in the fourth quarter to win 112-108. Embiid (plus-4.1 BPM) was stellar, putting up 31 points on 12-of-22 shooting and leading all players at plus-18. And they still came close to blowing it.
Props to Nets swingman Jared Dudley (plus-1.0 DBPM) for the work he’s done in this series, and all year for that matter. His defense off the bench was a big reason Brooklyn took Game 1, but then Dudley missed Game 2 with a sore right calf, and everything fell apart for the Nets. Dudley returned for Game 3, but was clearly not himself; Game 4, on the other hand, was another solid performance, as Dudley got the start and led the Nets at plus-12.
— Jay (@Jay__Breezy21) April 22, 2019
Then he got tossed in the third quarter after getting into a scuffle with the Sixers, and once again, everything fell apart. Dudley was fined $25,000 for his actions, but he won’t be suspended for Game 5. That doesn’t help our cause much. However, center Ed Davis (plus-0.4 BPM) is considered questionable after missing Game 4 with a sprained ankle. This is a horrible development for Brooklyn – they need Davis’ defense to counter Embiid, who’s been throwing his weight (and his elbows) around in this series. The league has been very kind to Embiid thus far; their fan service gives us even more reason to put the Sixers in our NBA picks, but to steal yet another catchphrase, where’s the sportsmanship?