NBA Playoff Odds & Preview — Game 2: Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers emaciated the Miami Heat in Game 1 of their NBA playoff series, but then again, this is the hottest team in the league right now. Do they present some problems the Heat can’t deal with? That is a very solid question as we come into Game 2, which is scheduled to begin at 8:05 PM ET at the Wells Fargo Arena in the City of Brotherly Love. Remember that if you are a BetAnySports customer, you can get reduced juice, which enables you to get better value when you challenge the odds, and you can continue to do that after the game begins, as you access the state-of-the-art software from Live Betting Ultra.
There are very few positives the Heat can get out of their 130-103 loss in Game 1. And it is hard to believe that the team could possibly be as bad as they played in the second half. Miami was ahead at halftime, but what followed was 24 minutes of basketball in whick Erik Spoelstra’s team was outscored by a 74-43 margin. As you watched the Sixers in that stretch, you got the impression that they were the greatest team ever to play pro basketball. That isn’t the case, most likely, but this might be the best team in the Eastern Conference right now. They won their last sixteen regular season games, and that is the longest winning streak any NBA squad has ever had to close out a season. And they just keep going.
And they have been doing it lately without one of the great big man to come into the league in recent years. Joel Embiid has been sitting out with an eye injury, and will probably appear at some point during this series, although he has been ruled out for Game 2. What is fascinating is that these Sixers have figured out a way to make Embiid’s absence actually work for them, and a lot of the credit for that has to go to coach Brent Brown.
In the NBA playoff odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the 76ers are once again the favorites:
Philadelphia 76ers -6.5
Miami Heat +6.5
Over 216 points -110
Under 216 points -110
What has happened without Embiid is that the Sixers have really opened up the floor, and with a number of three-point shooters, the smaller lineup really works. Of course, it helps when you have a 6-10 guy with a world of talent who has, in effect, assumed the point guard position. Ben Simmons does commit some turnovers, and Philadelphia led the league in that category, but he had 17 assists in Game 1 to go with his 17 points. But with him around, that opened up opportunities for the likes of JJ Redick, Ersan Ilyasova, Marco Belinelli and Dario Saric on the perimeter. Philly went 18-28 from beyond the arc, and obviously that is something phenomenal and won’t likely be repeated.
But by stretching out the Heat on defense, they way they are able to do, they have really mitigated the effect of Hassan Whiteside, who played only 12-1/2 minutes and scored two points on Saturday. If Miami was not able to get some offensive help from big man Kelly Olynyk off the bench (26 points), who knows how bad the beatdown would have been. As it was, though, Amir Johnson, who made the start at center in place of Embiid, had six offensive rebounds while playing less than half the game.
With Boston banged-up and lots of questions surrounding Cleveland in light of their Game 1 loss to Indiana, a lot of people are giving the Sixers a chance of emerging out of the East to go to the Finals. And with the winning streak, along with the fact that this is a team with a very young core, there’s no reason to cast a lot of doubt on that. We don’t think Miami is dynamic enough to make up the gap, so we’ll move with the home team until we are completely convinced otherwise.
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