NBA picks: 76ers vs. Celtics, Mavs vs. Clippers
Both the Los Angeles Clippers and the Boston Celtics look to go 2-0 in their respective first round matches, but they won’t get there without a fight. At 12:30 p.m. ET, Joel Embiid and the shorthanded 76ers will try to pull out all the stops to even the score against Boston. At 3:00 p.m. ET, the Clippers are expected to be in another dogfight against the Dallas Mavericks.
Here’s how we see Wednesday’s playoff hoops action going down.
Wed, August 19 2020, 10:35 PM
Though Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 61 points in Boston’s 109-101 victory Monday night, the Celtics needed a late comeback to come out with the win. Kemba Walker took long enough to get started in his playoff debut for the Celtics, but his 11 points in the fourth helped Boston squeak out the win.
The Celtics will have to play this game without Gordon Hayward, who may not return to the playoffs after suffering a grade III ankle sprain. With Ben Simmons out for the Sixers, Tatum and Brown should have another big game.
#NEBHInjuryReport Celtics forward @gordonhayward suffered a Grade III sprain of his right ankle during the fourth quarter of last night’s game against Philadelphia. He is expected to miss approximately four weeks.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) August 18, 2020
Further updates will be provided as appropriate.
The Sixers, and Embiid in particular, are going to come out firing in Game 2. A big reason for their loss was the 18 turnovers that turned to 21 points, and the inability to defend Brown down the final stretch. Though Embiid is putting this team on his back, the Sixers got excellent production from Josh Richardson and Alec Burks. Protecting the ball is the main priority for the Sixers today, and the call here is that they even the series at one game apiece.
NBA pick: 76ers moneyline
Thu, August 20 2020, 1:05 AM
Had Kristaps Porzingis not been ejected after a questionable technical foul, the Clippers would be coming in this game needing to regroup. The stout defense the team is known for was torn to shreds by Luka Doncic, who put up 42 points in his playoff debut. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George closed out the game in the fourth, but they will need to have properly adjusted to deal with Doncic and Porzingis for Game 2. It was the Clippers’ depth and resourcefulness that won them the game, but they’re in for another tough night.
Doncic was unstoppable, and while he likely won’t put up 42 points again, the Mavericks should be brimming with confidence after this performance. Porzingis should stay out of harm’s way, but the Mavericks can’t run out of gas in the second half after the Clippers make their adjustments.
Dallas can bring the heat, but they don’t have an answer to Leonard and George. Expect the Clippers to be better prepared for Doncic this time around, but have to hold on for another tight win.