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The 76ers are up 3-0 in the series
Joel Embiid is out for Game 4 with a sprained knee
Tyrese Maxey is coming off a 25-point performance in Game 3
The Brooklyn Nets are on the brink of elimination at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday. The Sixers didn’t lose to the Nets in the regular season, and they have a great chance of finishing the year at a perfect 8-0 against the franchise by completing a first-round sweep. The biggest story heading into the game is Joel Embiid’s knee injury, which will keep him on the bench. However, the Sixers are deep enough to win this game without their star. Let’s get into the betting breakdown for Game 4.
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Joel Embiid has been fantastic throughout this first round series. The big man is so valuable as he can play all over the floor, and control the paint simultaneously. There are very few players in the NBA that have the same ability as Embiid, and he will be missed on Saturday. However, there is no real need for Philadelphia to stick him on the floor as they’re up 3-0 in the series. The 76ers could realistically not use him for the remainder of the series and still advance as they have a 3-0 cushion.
The Sixers will feel the loss of Embiid in the paint, but the team is still very good on the perimeter. James Harden has been fantastic from three point range. We expect him to take a bigger scoring role today and shy away from the passing as he does with Embiid in the game. The rise of Tyrese Maxey this season should also give Sixers bettors comfort they can win without Embiid on Saturday.
Maxey is a player who is hard not to love, and he is coming off a 25 point performance in Game 3. If the Sixers were playing the Celtics or Bucks, we would recommend shying away from their side of the line, but the Nets just haven’t performed well in this series. They were blasted in Philadlephia in the first two games, and were unable to finish in Game 3. Nic Claxton should have a huge game without Embiid in his face, but the Sixers are still the play in this matchup. A team with nothing to lose is the best to bet, and Philadlephia’s cushion should allow them to play loose.
The biggest positive coming out of Game 3 was Nic Claxton’s strong performance. Claxton was all over the floor and that’s something we didn’t see in Game 2 of the series. The coaching staff challenged him after a poor showing in Philadelphia and he showed up in Brooklyn. Claxton had 18 points and led the team in +/- at +13. He also had four rebounds and two assists on the night.
The area where the Nets must improve is on the offensive glass. As good as Claxton was in 28 minutes on the floor, he didn’t grab an offensive board. Second chance opportunities will be critical in Game 4 for Brooklyn because it will allow them to control the game. Mikal Bridges must also show up big, as he did in Game 3. The forward dropped 26 points and shot four of seven from beyond the arch.
If the Nets have a chance of winning one game in this series, it’s at home when the Sixers don’t have Embiid. However, the franchise is still 3-8 straight up in their past 11 games at home versus the Sixers.
Embiid’s absence is the biggest question surrounding the Sixers in Game 4. The roster is talented enough to win without the star, but it will require other players to step up big. The winning will start with Harden, who scored 21 points and shot 8-15 from the floor in Game 3. However, he was -15 in the +/- so Philadlephia didn’t play very effective basketball when he was in the game.
Maxey must do what he did in Game 3 to pull off the victory in Game 4. He was 5-8 from deep and this lit a spark for the Sixers in the fourth quarter. They outscored the Nets 26-15 in the final 12 minutes en route to their five point victory.
Look for Tobias Harris and PJ Tucker to fill some of the scoring void left without Embiid. Even without Embiid, the Sixers still have a team to beat the Nets, who lack starpower to begin with after trading Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
The 76ers haven’t had any issues with the Nets this season. They’re 7-0 against the team and looking to end Brooklyn’s season on Saturday. It’s deflating to be down 3-0 in a series because the likelihood of a comeback is slim to none. In fact, the NBA is the only league where a team has never overcome a 3-0 deficit in sports.
The Nets could steal this game, but based on Brooklyn’s performance in this series, it’s safer to trust Philadlephia.
PICK: 76ers ML (-124)
Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
Game Time & Date: APR. 22 @ 1:00 p.m ET
Streaming: TNT App
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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