Joel Embiid has been ruled out for Game 4 as the 76ers look to make it a 4-0 series sweep on the road against the Nets after winning Game 3. of the Eastern Conference first-round. The game is expected to tip-off at 01:00 PM ET, Saturday, April 22nd, 2023.
Despite the 76ers winning all three games in the series, the Nets are only a 2.0 point underdog, with many believing the game will be decided by just one possession.
Philadelphia is aiming for a sweep in a best-of-seven series for the first time since 1984-85 when they defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round. Their last sweep in an opening round of the playoffs occurred in 1991 against the Bucks, although it was a best-of-five set.
In the series opener, Philadelphia secured a 121-101 victory, followed by low-scoring wins off the back of some clutch plays down the stretch. In Game 3 on Thursday, the 76ers struggled in the second half but ultimately secured a 102-97 victory in the final minutes.
The Nets have been unable to find an answer for Embiid through the first three games, facing aggressive tactics from the Nets in Game 3, with the opposing team trying to provoke a response from him. Despite finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds, Embiid made a crucial block on Spencer Dinwiddie.
Embiid’s block came after Tyrese Maxey’s 25-point performance, where he scored 10 straight points for Philadelphia, including a tiebreaking 3-pointer over Dinwiddie with 44.7 seconds left. Maxey had previously scored 33 points in Philadelphia’s 96-84 win, and he delivered again without James Harden on the floor.
However, Embiid suffered a right knee sprain and will not take the court for Game 4 on Saturday afternoon. There is optimism that he will be back early next week in time for a likely second-round series against the Boston Celtics.
Brooklyn is aiming to avoid a sweep in the first round for the third time in four seasons and hoping to send the series back to Philadelphia for Game 5 on Monday. The Nets are also trying to break a nine-game losing streak in postseason games.
After scoring 35 points in the second half of Game 3, the Nets took a six-point lead into the fourth quarter but struggled late, scoring only 15 points in the final 12 minutes, going 5-of-18 from the floor and missing six of seven 3-point attempts, while committing four turnovers.
Mikal Bridges led the Nets with 26 points but struggled with his shooting, going 9-of-26 from the floor. He has shot 36.5 percent (15-of-41) in the past two games.
Dinwiddie added 20 points, but Nic Claxton was ejected for picking up a second technical foul in the fourth quarter when the Nets were leading by six points.
ODDS AND PREDICTIONS
Brooklyn recently suffered a gut-wrenching defeat in Game 3, feeling they had the win within their grasp but let it slip away in the final moments.
With a 3-0 deficit in the series, Brooklyn’s morale may be low, and it’s likely to reflect in their performance. The doubt of a possible comeback may weigh on their minds, causing them to struggle against Philadelphia.
Despite Embiid’s absence, its unlikely the Nets can slow down Maxey, who has been on fire lately and was a key factor in Philadelphia’s Game 3 victory.
Expect Philadelphia to come out strong, secure a big win, and cover the spread. But remember, it’s important to keep in mind that sports betting always involves a degree of risk, and there’s no guarantee that the 76ers will be as successful without Embiid. As always, it’s essential to do your research and make an informed decision based on the available data.
Spread: 76ers -2
Moneyline: 76ers -120, Nets +102
Pick: 76ers -2
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