The Celtics could not get it done yesterday struggling to adjust to the Buck’s big man rotation of Giannis, Portis and Lopez. Yesterday’s results further condemn the poor play offered by the Nets in round one. My NBA Playoffs picks are 12-8.
NBA Playoffs: Heat (-7.5) Vs 76ers $
The big story for this game is of course Joel Embiid not making the trip to Miami and will be out for at least the first two games of the series. He took an elbow to the eye from Pascal Siakam with just 4 minutes left in game 6 when his team was already up 29 points. It was ridiculous that he was even on the court at that moment and once again brings up a questionable coaching decision by Doc Rivers.
With their league MVP out of the lineup, the Sixers will need to rely heavily on James Harden to handle the ball much more than he already was. They need 35+ from Harden to pull off a road split in Miami. Frankly, I do not have faith in Harden to do this. He is terribly inconsistent and just does not have the bursts of energy he used to in the past. If anything, Tyrese Maxey may have a better chance of pulling off the road upset.
The Heat are also dealing with multiple injuries. Kyle Lowry is out. Jimmy Butler along with several other players are listed as questionable, but I expect most of them to play through their injuries. The difference between these two teams is in their bench depth. The Heat are much deeper than the Sixers off the bench and in a better position to deal with multiple injuries.
This (-7.5) is a little high for my comfort in a playoff game. But I don’t think a four-point adjustment for Embiid being out of the lineup is unjustified. The Sixers are not even a playoff team without Embiid in the lineup so II will lay the big spread in this NBA Playoffs matchup.
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