Yesterday’s Results: 2-1-1
All Time Results: 13-11-1, +2 units of profit
Philadelphia 76ers -1.5 vs. Orlando Magic, 1st Half – .5 units
1. Philadelphia has the 2nd best scoring margin in the league in the 1st half. Many have attributed this to Joel Embiid (who is not playing) slowing down late in games, and I think this partly true as to why 76ers haven’t been as good in 2nd halves. But it doesn’t explain why the 76ers have outperformed expectations so greatly in the first half. A team that has had moving parts for the past 4 months has been able to play carefree flowing basketball right after tip off. Only when the game slows down and several coaching adjustments have been made, does the Sixers lack of experience together and cohesion rear its ugly head.
2. In the 5 games the Sixers have played without Embiid since the All-Star break they are 4-1 SU & ATS in the 1st half, outscoring teams by an average of 9.0 points. Ben Simmons size and speed has wrecked opposing point guards early in games, as they get accustomed to playing a completely different kind of PG.
3. After a loss, the 76ers are 14-8 ATS. 3rd best in the NBA.
4. Jimmy Butler & Tobias Harris are far too big and too talented for the Magic’s wings. While I am concerned about the Magic’s big men exposing the 76ers lack of front court depth later in the game, I expect the beginning of the game to be a track meet highlighting the skills of the teams’ guards & wings. Butler should bottle up Terrence Ross. Harris is averaging 24.5 points per game this year against his former club.
Boston Celtics +3 @ Golden State Warriors – 1st quarter – .25 units &
Boston Celtics +8.5 @ Golden State Warriors – .25 units
1. Watching the Celtics play I don’t agree with many that say they are lazy, selfish or that they personally don’t like each other. Just the opposite: I feel they overly concerned about stepping on one another toes. So often they have a 1 on 1 matchup, make a move to the basket and then at the last second throw it back out of the circle to a teammate who doesn’t have an advantage. They don’t want to be the one that makes the mistake. So often in basketball _taking_ the shot is the selfless thing to do.
Playing this superior Warriors squad will shift their mindset toward focusing on what they can do as individuals – rather than what they might mess up. Look for Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart to make more definitive moves in this tilt.
2. Rumors of the death of the Celtics have been greatly exaggerated. When it comes to collapses and squandered expectations, the Celtics are not the Lakers. They still have a top 10 offense and a top 10 defense. Boston still has the best first quarter scoring margin in the league. They still have an excellent shot of making the Finals.
4. Klay Thompson did not practice Monday and is questionable for tonight. If he doesn’t play, I like this pick twice as much. He has proved essential for their team cohesion in recent years: Warriors are 0-2 ATS this season without Klay, and 4-11 ATS the past 3 seasons without Klay.
5. Warriors have been a horrendous betting proposition at home in the last 2 years: 27-44 ATS (38.0% ATS).
6. Each of the last 3 meetings between these teams has been decided by exactly 4 points. Celtics depth & balance has been able to play the Warriors close in recent years, as they have posted a 6-2-1 ATS record against the Dubs during their championship run.