It’s already crystal clear that Game 3 and the rest of the NBA playoff series matching the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets is going to be an inside-outside battle (TNT, 8 p.m.).
The Nets can’t guard the Sixers inside the arc. Brooklyn must hit a bunch of three-pointers to make up for that defensive deficiency. Look at Philadelphia’s scoreboard edge so far if you exclude three-point baskets…
Scoring on 1’s and 2’s
Game 1: Philadelphia 93, Brooklyn 78
Game 2: Philadelphia 118, Brooklyn 78
Rebounding also happens inside the arc. Philadelphia won that stat 50-45 in their opening game loss, 49-32 in their bounce back blowout. Brooklyn has dominated the three-point category, winning “makes” in the opener 11-3 (plus 24 points) and the rematch 15-9 (plus 18 points).
It’s important for handicappers and bettors to realize that those dynamics aren’t likely to change with the site switch to Barclays Center.
*Will the new locale make it more difficult for Philadelphia to own the inside? Maybe, if the refs swallow their whistles in front of rabid Nets fans. Just a maybe.
*Will home cooking help the Nets shoot better on treys? Brooklyn is already shooting very well on treys! The Nets have nailed 41.9% of their bombs, which is equivalent to 62.9% on deuces. Sharps (professional bettors) prefer investing in teams that have the easiest path to points. That’s why Philadelphia drew initial interest at the opener of -2.5 before the market settled at three.
Philadelphia will likely be the point spread favorite in every game, which makes them a prohibitive favorite to advance. Assume about 58% to win road games, about 75-80% to win Game Five at home. The Nets need to hit a lot of threes to take this series deep.
The underdog Isles finished off a series sweep Tuesday night with a 3-1 road victory. While not as big a shocker as Columbus sweeping league juggernaut Tampa Bay, it was still a result that few in the market expected. Pittsburgh was -135 to advance before the series started, and was favored all three of its “bounce back” opportunities.
The Isles are a reminder of the importance of defense in any sport’s postseason. New York had the best “D” in the NHL during the regular season, then held the Penguins to 3, 1, 1, and 1 goals through their brief battle.
Hockey analytics website Natural Stat Trick showed the Islanders winning “high danger scoring chances” 11-7 Tuesday night, and “expected goals” 3.3 to 2.2. New York’s sweep wasn’t a result of extreme good luck or “hanging on for dear life.” The Islanders made themselves the series favorite by controlling flow of play throughout.
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