We could see the first conference semifinalist emerge on Saturday as the Philadelphia 76ers have the potential to sweep the Brooklyn Nets. Philly is up 3-0 in this series after overcoming a strong third quarter from Brooklyn, and the Sixers can put away the Nets on Saturday afternoon. James Harden is riled up after being ejected from Game 3, calling the decision “unacceptable”, and Joel Embiid should be ready to end this series too. That means Brooklyn is unlikely to face a Philly team that will be sleepwalking through a game, and the Nets will have to be at their best to avoid a 4-0 beatdown.
There are three other games scheduled for Saturday too. The Los Angeles Clippers will look to even their first round series against the Phoenix Suns, as a loss in Game 4 would put the Clips in a pretty big hole with the series set to return to the Land of the Sun. The Milwaukee Bucks are hoping that Giannis Antetokounmpo will be back in the lineup for Game 3 of their series against the Miami Heat, and the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies will square off in LA tied at 1-1 after two games in Memphis.
NBA Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook
Philadelphia 76ers -5.5 at Brooklyn Nets
Some people have called for Joel Embiid to be suspended for kicking at Nic Claxton after Claxton stepped over him in the first quarter on Thursday night. They point to the recent Draymond Green suspension, but Embiid does not have near the same history of incidents as Green. Additionally, you could tell that Brooklyn’s plan was to be rough with Embiid whenever possible, and Embiid acknowledged it after the game.
Embiid told the AP, “You could see what the game plan was. Got to hit him, try to make me frustrated so I could get ejected. So, I’m too mature to put myself in a position where I’m going to be ejected, so I just went about my business and we got the win.”
Philly’s star center and the odds-on favorite to win the 2022-23 NBA MVP according to the NBA futures odds is not at 100%, and the Sixers will want to put an emphasis on closing out this series since James Harden is a little banged up too. Tyrese Maxey stepped up in a big way in Game 3, finishing with a team-high 25 points, and De’Anthony Melton shined after Harden ejected with 13 points and a plus/minus of +24 in 30 minutes.
It seems obvious now that we gave Brooklyn a little too much respect after the Nets traded away Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. The Nets went 12-15 over the final third of the regular season, and they only have one real scoring threat now in Mikal Bridges.
Phoenix Suns -5 at Los Angeles Clippers
After losing Game 1, some were speculating that Chris Paul might just be doomed to never win an NBA Championship, However, it soon became clear that Phoenix just needed to change up its plans on offense in order to win this series. Rather than run the offense through CP3, the best two-man duo for the Suns was Devin Booker and Kevin Durant. The duo went off in Game 2, and they were even better in Game 3 when the series shifted to LA. Booker had 45 points on 18 of 29 shooting last night, while Durant finished with 28 points.
The Clippers gave an inspired effort with Kawhi Leonard out due to a right knee sprain. Russell Westbrook stuffed the stat sheet with 30 points, 12 assists, eight rebounds, and six turnovers while shooting 11 of 23 from the floor, and Norman Powell exploded for 42 points on 15 of 23 shooting. That allowed the Clippers to keep it close and believe they have a shot in this series.
However, it’s unlikely we will see that kind of production from the Clippers again. They shot 54.2% from the floor and 42.9% from beyond the arc in Game 3, and the Suns will adjust on defense. If Leonard doesn’t play again, this will likely be a blowout, so back Phoenix on the NBA betting line.