After losing Joel Embiid in the first half of Game 4, this series between the Wizards and Sixers took an unexpected (well, with an injury-prone player, perhaps not unexpected) turn.
The Wizards began to run it up on the top seed in the East, and now things are complicated. With Embiid doubtful, can Washington avoid the Gentleman’s Sweep? Or, will Philadelphia continue to be unstoppable at home, sending the Wizards packing and getting Embiid some extra time to heal? We’ll tell you where to look at SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks.
Washington Wizards vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Wednesday, June 3, 2021 – 7:00 PM ET at Wells Fargo Center Philadelphia
Can the Offense Turn It On?
Even in their one victory, the Wizards offense left a lot to be desired on betting sites. The team scored just 110.9 points per 100 possessions, and saw Russell Westbrook go just 3-19 from the field — gross! Defensively, things turned up in that game, and it’s likely a combination of some increased effort down 3-0 at home and a large failure to score the basketball on the part of the Sixers without Joel Embiid.
We should temper expectations, though, for a Wizards team that ranked just 17th in offensive efficiency this season. While Westbrook has been a spark plug at times on offense, and Bradley Beal has proven himself to be one of the league’s top scorers, on the whole, this has been a less than attractive set of players on that half of the floor.
One thing that’s stayed consistent about the Wizards is the way they play basketball. Their pace rating in Game 4 was a whopping 109, which is right in line for how fast this team has played all season long. Will we see that same sense of urgency in Game 5, with the series potentially back up for grabs?
What Happens Now for Philadelphia?
If the regular season wasn’t already proof enough, it was very evident on Monday that the Sixers can’t play nearly the same level of basketball without their big man, Joel Embiid. He was sent out of the game in the first quarter with a sore right knee, and at the time the Sixers were pushing for a double-digit lead. What happened after that was a nightmare. The Sixers fell behind by double digits, and a huge comeback attempt to get it back to a one-possession game proved futile. Ben Simmons was used sparingly in the first half, which is concerning, and George Hill (knee) and Seth Curry (ankle) both appeared on Tuesday night’s injury report, though neither is expected to miss this one.
The saving grace here is the fact that the Sixers are going back to the familiar Wells Fargo Center Philadelphia, where they have crushed their opposition this year. Philly is 23-14-1 against the spread when playing the role of host, and even though it missed covering by one point in Game 1, this team has looked fantastic in the home games this series.
Without Embiid, the Sixers are probably going to attempt to play with some sort of small ball lineup led by Mike Scott down low, and will also give Dwight Howard some minutes as well. These minutes have not been great to the Sixers, who are out-scoring the Wizards by 34.7 points per 100 possessions in the 95 minutes that Embiid’s been on the floor this year, and who have been getting outscored 7.7 points per 100 possessions in the non-Embiid minutes.
The Sixers are going to struggle big time offensively without Embiid, and for that reason, top sportsbooks are struggling to find an angle that makes sense here. With the Wizards’ pace, I was thinking of maybe attacking this total by taking the over, but their offense leaves a lot to be desired. With that said, an under is never fun when you’re talking about a team that produces this many possessions.
The way to go here, pretty clearly, is taking the Wizards. The Sixers have struggled to score all year long without Embiid, and that should allow the Wizards a way back into this series, even at home. I think the Sixers will still win outright, but it should be close.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.