The Philadelphia 76ers salvaged their season on Monday night with a 103-92 home win that brought the conference semifinals series with the Boston Celtics to 3-1. Philly will try to ride that momentum as the teams head back to Boston on Wednesday night. The 76ers looked good the last time out, but oddsmakers seemed to have taken note of the C’s heading into the May 9th NBA playoffs free pick. The line of BOS -1 marks the first time in four games that the Celtics have been favored – does that jinx them?
Philly Aims to Force a Game 6 Back Home
The Sixers have had their chances in this series, with 3 point and 5 point losses in Games 2 and 3 respectively. They were able to get the win on Monday, but did that shift the momentum or merely postpone the inevitable? So far 130 straight teams have lost the series when falling down 3-0 and Philadelphia would make 131. The 76ers aren’t counting themselves out in the May 9th NBA free pick however. In Game 4 they showed a toughness that had been lacking since the Philadelphia / Boston playoff series’ of the 80s. Boston’s Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown, and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid all received technical fouls and there were many face-to-face moments. Can the Sixers get away with that kind of play in front of the Boston fans?
Philadelphia also has a new look after inserting TJ McConnell into the starting lineup in Game 4. He responded with 19 points and 7 rebounds. Embiid scored 15 but had the best plus/minus of anybody on the floor with a +22. Dario Saric led all scorers with 25 and Ben Simmons had 19 points and 13 rebounds after scoring just 1 point in Game 2.
Celtics Looking Forward to Cleveland?
During most of the regular season an Eastern Conference Finals between Cleveland and Boston looked like as close to a sure thing as you can get. The Cavs faltered, the Celtics faced a rash of injuries, and Toronto ascended to the top which put that future matchup in doubt. Well after Cleveland swept the Raptors and Boston went up 3-1 on Philadelphia it looks like the preseason predictions are back on track. Of course there is still one step left and that’s a win over the Sixers in the May 9th NBA playoffs free pick. Are the Celtics putting too much pressure on themselves knowing that Cleveland is sitting at home resting up for the next series?
Boston is undefeated at home in the playoffs this postseason which includes a 16 point win over the Sixers in Game 1 as +4.5 underdogs and a 5 point win in Game 2 as +3.5. Tonight’s contest is the 1st one of the series that the C’s are favored but they may also be down to an 8 man rotation after Shane Larkin is likely out with a shoulder strain. Jayson Tatum has scored 20+ in every game this series and Boston can close out with another big night from Al Horford, who fueld the Celtics Game 1 win with 26 points.
May 9th NBA Playoffs Free Pick Betting
Philadelphia knows they have their backs against the wall but may actually relish the fact of being underdogs for the first time in the series. The Sixers have the talent to win, but will their intimidating style of play float in Boston – or just fire up Celtics fans even more. 64% of the public are liking Boston and it’s hard not to back one of the best coaches in the NBA in Brad Stevens. It will be that home court that gets the C’s a rather easy one on Wednesday night.
Free Pick: Boston Celtics -1.5