A massive Sunday of hoops and our NBA picks have everything you need before you place your bets this afternoon! We are 10-3 in our picks so far this week and are confident in another two winners today!
One week after upsetting the Knicks, the Hawks are on the hunt for another victim, with the Sixers lining up as their second round opponent. While that series is just starting, the tense battle between the Mavs and Clippers is coming to a close, being decided by this afternoon’s game seven.
Who will draw first blood in Philly? Which team has the mental strength to seal the deal in LA? We have all of the answers for you, so read on below to find today’s NBA picks!
Atlanta Hawks @ Philadelphia 76ers (Game 1) – 1pm EDT
The East-leading Philadelphia 76ers and fifth-seeded Atlanta Hawks both won their respective first round series in five games, easily advancing to the second round. They now face off against one another with a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals on the line.
During the regular season the sides played three times, twice in Philly and once in Atlanta, with each team taking care of business on their home floor. However it must be noted that in the Hawks’ 112-94 home win in January, the Sixers played with Joel Embiid being the only regular starter to take the floor, as the team was battling with COVID-19 protocols.
That is now a contrast to this evening’s clash, as the Sixers are relatively healthy, except for Embiid. The dominant big man is just questionable for tonight’s clash, after missing game five against the Wizards on Wednesday due to an injury he sustained in game four, on Monday. If he is unable to take the floor, Philly will surely miss his 29 points per game and need to rely on others to fill the void.
That is exactly what happened in the closeout game on Wednesday, with Seth Curry shooting 58.5% from the field on the way to a team high 30 points. Tobias Harris, who had a career year, was right behind him with 28 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals. What is potentially most exciting for Philly is that Ben Simmons thrived on both ends of the floor, finishing with a 19 point triple double, while adding two blocks and an assist.
Trae and the Hawks freeze out the Knicks at MSG ❄️
They’ll face the Sixers next 😤 pic.twitter.com/DQwDyVNCjT
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 3, 2021
While Philadelphia won their way into the second round thanks to some spectacular offensive performances, averaging 124 points per game, Atlanta used their defense to secure their first round victory. The Hawks gave up just 97 points per game to the struggling Knicks in their five games, using a team-based approach to shut down Julius Randle and the young New York core.
While defense allowed them to advance, the offensive play of their leader, Trae Young, was the story of the series and showed a new side that many believe is good for his overall game. Embracing the role of the villain in the series, playing it up to the New York crowd while backing it up on the court, Young averaged 29.2 points and 9.8 assists to help guide his team to the easy 4-1 win.
Embiid’s status for the game has many, including Shaquille O’Neal, doubting whether the Sixers will be able to defend their status as the best team in the conference. He is obviously a massive loss, but his absence saw Matisse Thybulle step into the starting lineup and his defense on Young will be a massive positive for Philly. Atlanta definitely has a heap of momentum behind them but they are young and inexperienced, especially on this stage, and the Sixers should still be good enough to win game one.
Dallas Mavericks @ Los Angeles Clippers (Game 7) – 3:30pm EDT
This series has gotten exactly what it deserves, a seventh game. This is the first time in league history that the road team has won the first six games in a series, showing the inconsistency and even matching of the two sides. The Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks have been throwing haymakers so far in this series and now it is time to find out who will land the final blow.
With their backs against the wall, on the road for an elimination game six, LA came out swinging, winning 104-97. Kawhi Leonard stated after the game that his mentality was that he didn’t want to go home and that is exactly how he played. The superstar tied a playoff career high 45 points, shooting 18/25 (72%) from the field and scoring 12 of those points in the decisive fourth quarter, which LA won 31-20.
Leonard had a surprising second fiddle during the game, Reggie Jackson, who had 25 points, his highest points tally in over six weeks of action. Paul George was just as good as well, finishing with 20 points, along with team highs of 13 rebounds, six assists and three blocks. This was all needed to overcome the entire rest of the rotation combining for just 14 points, including only four off the bench.
According to @EliasSports Kawhi Leonard is the 4th player in NBA postseason history with 45 points and 70% FG when facing elimination, joining Jamal Murray, LeBron James and Wilt Chamberlain. pic.twitter.com/ceODjx0mco
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 5, 2021
What helped guide the Clips to victory was getting to the line 28 times, double the attempts of the Mavs, and making 22 (78.6%). Leonard, George and Jackson combined for 16/22, both more than Dallas combined. However, the Mavericks did shoot more efficiently from the line, 12/14 (85.7%), with Luka Doncic going a perfect 5/5 to lead his squad.
Doncic had himself quite a game as well, putting up 29 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and four steals and scoring 12 points in the final five minutes to keep his side in it, but ultimately it wasn’t enough. Tim Hardaway Jr was next best with 23 points but the same story of minimal help from the others rang true for Dallas. Kristaps Porzingis could only muster seven points on 3/7 shooting from the field in what was just a terrible performance.
This series has been impossible to predict but there is clearly a trend now, back the team that is one the road. However, we aren’t doing that in this one. Dallas looked mentally defeated after the game six loss and the Clippers seem to have broken free of the late game blues that were hampering them. After Doncic started as the best player in the series, Leonard’s game six has us believing in him and his Clippers with their season on the line.
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.
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