The Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets played one of the most entertaining games of this year’s NBA playoffs in Saturday’s Game 4 matchup.
Brooklyn led almost the entire way and had Sixers’ star Jimmy Butler ejected, but the Sixers stepped up on defense in the fourth quarter and got a huge go-ahead three-pointer from Mike Scott in the last few seconds of the game. Philadelphia won 112-108 to win its third straight game and take a 3-1 series lead.
In Game 5 today, we’ll see if the 76ers are motivated enough to end this series quickly or if the Nets are going to make it more difficult for them (8 p.m. ET Tuesday on TNT).
This preview will include analysis on the game’s key storylines, as well as picks on the two main betting lines for this game, the spread and the total points over/under, as part of our Brooklyn Nets vs Philadelphia 76ers Game 5 predictions.
Will Free-Throw Shooting Continue to Stay Normalized?
In the last three games, all 76er wins, Philadelphia has shot 72-of-88 (81.8 percent) and Brooklyn has shot 75-of-95 (78.9 percent) from the free-throw line. However, the Sixers were down at 69 percent in their loss, compared to 92.3 percent for the Nets.
In hindsight, that poor shooting for the Sixers and great shooting from the Nets was a big factor in Brooklyn’s upset win. If both teams shot their same percent from Games 2 through 4 in Game 1, we are looking at a potential one-point 76ers win, not a nine-point Nets win.
Philadelphia may feel a bit of pressure to close this series out as the higher seed at home, while Brooklyn has nothing to lose as a young squad getting its first real shot in the playoffs. The Sixers can’t let that pressure get to their heads.
Will Joe Harris Regain His Shooting Stroke?
A massive factor in the Nets’ three losses is Harris suddenly losing his three-point touch. Harris ranked first in the NBA among qualified players in three-point percentage this season (47.4 percent) and had been shooting 35-of-61 from downtown (57.4 percent) in his previous 11 games heading into Game 2.
In the last three games, Harris is a frigid 0-of-12 from long distance. During the regular season, he failed to make a three-pointer only six times in 76 games, and it never happened in consecutive games. Now it has happened three times in a row.
How are the Nets supposed to win games against a more talented team with one of the NBA’s best outside shooters disappearing at the worst time? The law of averages dictates that Harris will bounce back in Game 5, but confidence is also a factor. Will Harris have the confidence in his own shot to take and make at least a couple threes today?
What Sort of Impact Will Joel Embiid Have in This Game?
For every game of this series, the Sixers have waited until the last possible instant to announce Embiid’s status. Embiid is probable for Game 5 with his ongoing knee issues, but he is probably going to be another game-time decision in order to keep the Nets on their heels.
In the 77 minutes he has played over three games in the series, Embiid has completely dominated the Nets. He has scored nearly one point per minute (76 points) along with 41 rebounds, 12 assists and 11 blocks. His true-shooting percentage is a strong 60.2. Brooklyn has a decent pair of big men in Ed Davis and Jarrett Allen, but they are absolutely no match for Embiid’s size, strength and athleticism.
I would guess that it is extremely likely that Embiid plays and plays hard in this game. The chance at having about a week of rest from games before the second round starts should be ample motivation for the superstar big man.
Our Preview’s Brooklyn Nets vs Sixers Game 5 Betting Picks & Predictions
Philadelphia is certainly the better team, and while Brooklyn’s scoring guards can be a tough matchup for the Sixers’ bigger, slower perimeter players, I think the Sixers will play very motivated defense, similar to the fourth quarter of Game 4. The double ejection with Brooklyn’s Jared Dudley and Philly’s Jimmy Butler seems to have ignited the Sixers’ passion and team chemistry and that should carry over to Game 5.
Expect the 76ers to throw the ball into Embiid a lot in Game 5 and stifle the Nets’ early offensive attacks. This game may be played at a slower pace than much of the series with the Philadelphia defense locked in. These are the Brooklyn Nets vs Philadelphia 76ers Game 5 predictions for this NBA playoffs preview:
- The Sixers are favored by 8.5 points with the top bookmakers for USA online betting. You should bet on the 76ers -8.5pts @ -110 with Intertops.
- With likely a slower pace and Embiid playing to protect the paint for Philadelphia, this game could be lower scoring than expected. My suggestion for the second of our picks is to bet the under 229.5 total points @ -110 with Bovada, Bookmaker, BetOnline or Intertops.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.