It’s a vitally important Game 3 for the 76ers, and although Joel Embiid is still battling a knee injury, The Wolf expects him to play and once again come up big against the Hawks.
Here are The Wolf’s Saturday NBA predictions.
Although Joel Embiid is listed as questionable for Game 3, surely the Philadelphia centre will suit up which spells trouble for the Hawks.
Despite the injury cloud, Embiid’s first two games this series have been insane, scoring 39 points to go with nine rebounds in Game 1, and then stepping it up in Game 2 with 40 points and 13 rebounds in just 34 minutes.
The defensive troubles for Atlanta stem from the fact that Clint Capela is a good off-ball rim protector, but in isolation against Embiid, it’s a genuine struggle. Embiid’s footwork in the block is too good, he’s physically too strong for Capela, and if he’s in a pick and pop situation at the top of the three point line, Capela cannot stay in front of him – if he sags off though, Embiid will knock the triple.
With Embiid limiting Capela’s offensive output as well, the Hawks will look to play Collins in the five with Gallinari in the four – but both of them are far too undersized for Embiid down low.
Embiid’s PR line is 43.5 which he’s cleared comfortably in both games this series. Expect Atlanta to make a game of this on their home floor, which means Embiid will likely play 36-38 minutes, and as a result easily clear the 43.5 PR line.
Same Game Multi: Joel Embiid Over 32.5 Points / Ben Simmons Under 8.5 Rebounds / Ben Simmons Over 6.5 Assists = $4.33
It appears the shoulder is getting better each game for Chris Paul, and he’s a defensive nightmare for the Denver Nuggets the way they defend the on-ball.
Facundo Campazzo plays hard with great energy, but with Denver dropping Jokic when defending the on-ball screen it allows Paul to snake across to the weakside elbow and pull-up over a smaller Campazzo. After doing this a number of times, Denver eventually resorted to switching so Paul couldn’t continue to get inside the free throw line to pull-up or create for others – but it didn’t help. Paul’s eyes light up every time Michael Porter Jr switches on to him, and he still managed to get his step-back mid-range.
CP3 averages 19 points and 13 assists this series against the Nuggets, and it appears he’s been the beneficiary of Michael Malone’s on-ball defence rules for a long time. Paul had 21 points and 13 assists against the Nuggets on January 23, and the day prior against Denver he had 11 points and 15 assists. As a result, in his last seven games against the Nuggets Paul has cleared the 25.5 PA line dating back to February 21 2020 when playing for the Thunder.
Averaging 18.2 points and 12 assists against the Nuggets this year, expect him to once again come up big against the Nuggets clearing the 25.5 PA line.
Same Game Multi: Chris Paul 15+ Points / Chris Paul 10+ Assists / Mikal Bridges 2+ Threes = $4.00
Joel Embiid Over 43.5 PR / Chris Paul 10+ Assists / Mikal Bridges 2+ Threes = $4.50