NBA Playoffs: Free NBA Picks Today for Wednesday, June 16th, 2021

NBA Playoffs: Free NBA Picks Today for Wednesday, June 16th, 2021
Wed 16th June 2021

The top seed in each conference returns home for game five tied at 2-2, but which of them can take the commanding 3-2 lead? SportsTips’ NBA picks have all of the answers for you, including the winner of tonight’s two massive clash!

Despite leading by as many as 18 in the first half of game four, the Sixers ended up losing, seeing their game lead and series lead disappear, needing a win tonight. Utah on the other hand has all of the momentum against them after losing games three and four by a combined 40 points, plus they still might not have Mike Conley in the lineup.

Can both of the top seeds turn things around? Will the Hawks and Clippers keep their momentum rolling in enemy territory? Find out below in our NBA picks, with everything you need to know before placing your bets!

Atlanta Hawks @ Philadelphia 76ers (Game 5) – 7:30pm EDT

In what is a surprising turn of events, the Atlanta Hawks head back to Philly with a 2-2 tie against the one-seeded Philadelphia 76ers. With the Hawks being down 2-1 heading into game four and then facing an 18 point deficit just before halftime, it looked as if their chances of extending their miraculous season were closing in. 

However, behind some spectacular play from Trae Young and a tough-nosed defense, the Hawks turned things around to win 103-100. Young had 17 points and nine assists in the second half, finishing with 25 and 18 for the game, helping inspire his team over the line. Bogdan Bogdanovic hit timely shots to finish with 22 points while John Collins had a 14 point, 12 rebound double double in what was a full team performance. 

While they only shot 30% from behind the arc, Atlanta did make 12 threes. This was more than Philly made and more than they had made in both of their losses in the series, highlighting the importance of them being able to find their stroke from deep. 

Another thing that helped the Hawks get over the line was the miserable second half from Joel Embiid. While Embiid had a playoff career high 21 rebounds, including a first half double double of 13 points and 10 boards, the MVP runner-up managed just four second half points, going 0/12 from the field, including the potential game winner with just nine seconds remaining. 

Overall, the Sixers lost the second half by a massive 16 points, with Tobias Harris adding just six to his halftime tally of 14, Seth Curry adding four and Ben Simmons adding just three. This vast contrast in play has to be alarming for the Sixers, but equally for the Hawks. This was just the second time that Atlanta has won a half all series, the first half of game one, which they won, and now the second half of game four. 

Clearly we don’t expect Embiid, one of the most dominant players of the season so far, to go 0/12 from the field in a half any time soon and a return back home should do the Sixers a world of good. The worry is that the big man is carrying a knee injury and with only one day off, after he was visibly labouring in game four, it may not be enough time for him to recover to a level that will help Philly win. 

While the last time they played in Philadelphia saw them lose by 16 points, this Hawks team is never short on confidence. They are 3-2 on the road so far these playoffs, embracing the underdog role fully. With that being said, Philly are still the better team, evidenced by their 18 points second quarter lead, and we expect Doc Rivers to light a fire under his team following their poor showing on Monday. 

NBA Pick – Philadelphia 76ers (-270)
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Los Angeles Clippers @ Utah Jazz (Game 5) – 10pm EDT

Much like their opening round series, the Los Angeles Clippers have returned from an 0-2 deficit to tie things up heading into game five. The Utah Jazz were made to fight for their victories in games one and two, but the results in games three and four have to be alarmining, coming far too easily for LA. 

While the series is tied 2-2, the overall points differential sees the Clippers currently +31, winning games three and four by a combined 40 points. The worry now is however, are they able to carry momentum from those performances into a game five in Utah, where they are 0-3 so far this season across the regular and postseason. 

With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George playing the way they are, anything is possible. The duo have scored 30+ in both of LA’s wins, scoring 31 each in Monday’s 118-104 win. Combining for 16 points and seven threes, both Leonard and George dominated the game and are the main reason why the Clippers have all the momentum heading into game five. 

It wasn’t just those two though, with Marcus Morris Sr lighting it up from deep. After shooting just 1-16 from deep through the first three games, Morris Sr went 5-6 in game four, scoring 24 points, more than the first three games combined. This allowed the Clippers to overcome the poor shooting and scoring nights from both Reggie Jackson and Nicolas Batum, who combined for 34 in game three but managed just 11 between them on Monday. 

While their play has been dominant, the Clippers have caught a massive break so far this series, with Mike Conley, who is questionable for tonight, still yet to see the floor. This has left Donovan Mitchell, who is bruised and battered himself, to carry the load by himself. While he has done an exceptional job, averaging 37.25 points per game this series and scoring a game high 37 on Monday, it ultimately hasn’t been enough due to his lack of consistent help.

Utah’s bench scored just 11 in game four, with Jordan Clarkson, who won Sixth Man of the Year after averaging 18.4 points per game in the regular season, managing just eight points on 3/12 shooting and only 2/8 from deep. It wasn’t just the bench that played poorly though, with Royce O’Neal scoring eight points while Rudy Gobert, the Defensive Player of the Year, had only eight rebounds and one block, becoming irrelevant thanks to the Clippers’ small ball lineup. 

With Conley still just questionable, the Clippers have to be feeling confident about their chances. Utah may have only lost five games at home all season, but the momentum is well and truly against them tonight and it will take a massive effort from the entire roster, not just Mitchell, to get them over the line. We expect them to put up a better fight, especially in front of their home crowd, but LA are playing much better basketball across the board right now and could steal game five tonight.

**Update – Unfortunately Kawhi Leonard has been ruled out indefinitely due to a knee injury sustained in game four. This severely hurts the Clippers chances and puts the Jazz as the clear bet in this game.**

NBA Pick – Utah Jazz (-335)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel

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Tim is a keen follower of all American sports, in particular the NBA and NFL. He has followed both sports for over a decade and would happily sit down and watch every game, regardless of who is playing! No matter the sport, whether it be NFL and NBA or even MLB, NHL, UFC and all sports, Tim covers it from every angle, staying in the loop to bring you the most up-to-date information and the best picks and predictions on the market.