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The Brooklyn Nets were never expected to compete with the Philadelphia 76ers over seven games. This talent discrepancy has been evident through the first two games, as the Nets have controlled every aspect of the competition. Brooklyn is now 0-6 against Philadelphia this season, and there is a high probability their year will end by being swept. The Sixers are playing quality basketball at the right time, and it’s resulting in wins. Philadelphia may not have much of a chance in the Eastern Conference with Boston and Milwaukee, but they won’t have a problem in round one.
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We were surprised after looking at the game three spread for the Nets vs 76ers. Philadelphia is only favored by five points, which is half the points they laid at home. Home court has been worth approximately five points in the mind of bookmakers for the favorites. We have played Philadelphia minus the points throughout the first two games, and it has worked out in our favor. The home-court advantage for the Nets makes Philadelphia’s spread more appealing, as they’re clearly the better team.
Game two was closer than game one, but it almost looked as if the 76ers were uninterested. They shot 45% from the field but just 31.4% from the three. They dominated the glass once again, and the second chance opportunities put them in a position to be successful. The Nets haven’t had one answer for Joel Embiid in the paint.
Embiid grabbed 19 boards in game two, outrebounding Nic Claxton by 13. Claxton was the one player with a chance to neutralize Embiid, but he doesn’t have the physicality to win the battle. The same issues we saw in game one for Brooklyn existed in game two. The Nets don’t have the team to adjust to the Sixers.
The Nets have done everything they could in this series to create positive sparks. Game two was better than the opener, as they carried a lead into the half. This was a huge accomplishment, but Brooklyn doesn’t have many veterans in leadership spots that can finish a game. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant were these two players before they departed at the deadline.
The Nets dropped the ball in the third and fourth quarters of game two, going cold from the field. For Brooklyn to beat Philadelphia, they need four complete quarters and an impact performance out of Claxton. He is the most critical player because he defends Embiid. He hasn’t received much help from his teammates, as Embiid has been feasting.
Nevertheless, we should see a few adjustments from Brooklyn as the series transitions to their home court. If no changes occur, the Nets season will be over in two games.
The 76ers haven’t strained too much in this series. They have shown warning signs in their efficiency from the field, but the Nets haven’t been able to take advantage of their issues. If Brooklyn were a reputable team, Philadelphia would be in a competitive series since they haven’t played great.
The reason Philadelphia is up 2-0 and covered both games is thanks to their offensive rebounding. In game one, the Sixers had a 14-5 rebound advantage on the offensive glass. In game two, they grabbed 13 offensive rebounds compared to just five for the Nets. In the NBA, teams typically convert when they receive second chances.
The best basketball players in the world are all competing in the NBA. Players don’t miss wide-open looks, and second-chance opportunities lead to these additional shots. Embiid has been fantastic throughout the series, and other role players have stepped up like Tyrese Maxey.
The player who needs to shoot better from the field is James Harden. The shooting guard was 3 of 13 with eight points in 38 minutes. PJ Tucker, the starting power forward, was also horrendous, going 0-5 and not recording a point in 22 minutes. This will not cut it for the Sixers in future rounds.
The Sixers have won both games in this series by double digits, and we believe this margin will be in a similar area. Harden was more harmful than productive in game two, which is why Philadelphia stayed under 100 points. Yet, they still beat the Nets by 12 because of their domination in the paint.
This offensive rebounding control has been constant in all six games between the two franchises this season. Philadelphia is showing clear issues and these will lead to a playoff exit in the future, but it will come after a sweep in Brooklyn. Lay the five points for the Sixers, as we expect them to win by eight in game three.
PICK: 76ers -5 (-105)
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Tanner Kern has been working in the betting industry since 2020. He currently is a social media content creator at DraftKings and contributes to multiple sites in addition to WSN, including Forbes and VSiN. He is also the cohost of the podcast Ride the Line at WSN.More info on Tanner Kern
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