The Washington Wizards had a great second half run to reach the play-in tournament and corralled a victory over Indiana to earn the No. 8 seed in the playoff field. It looks like their good fortune has come to an end at the hands of the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers. Behind Joel Embiid, the Sixers won the first three games of the Eastern Conference first round series and can finish off the sweep on Monday night. That’s bad news for the Wiz since no NBA team has ever won a seven-game series when trailing 3-0. Philadelphia has won all six games between the clubs this season and eight straight overall.
This NBA playoff game takes place on Monday, May 31, 2021 and will air live on TNT with tip off at 7 p.m. ET from Capital One Arena.
Philadelphia 76ers vs Washington Wizards Odds
Spread: 76ers -7.5 | Washington Wizards +7.5
Money Line: 76ers -350 | Wizards +281
Season to Date
Not only do the Sixers have the advantage of being up 3-0 in the series they also have Washington’s number. Philly swept the regular season games and is 3-1 ATS in the last four meetings. Offensively the Sixers have been tough to stop. They scored at least 120 points in each playoff game and average over 126 points against Washington in all games this season.
Their overall winning streak dates back to last season when the Sixers won the final two games of the 2019-20 campaign improving to 8-0 SU and 4-4 ATS in the previous eight encounters. If the Sixers were going to have a letdown it probably would have happened in Game 3. Embiid made sure that didn’t happen scoring a playoff career-high 36 points with plenty of help from his supporting cast.
Maybe the Wizards just ran out of gas. They had a spectacular close to the season to reach the play-in field winning 17 of their final 23 games then blasted Indiana 142-115 in the winner-take-all contest. A better reason is that the Wizards simply don’t have the horses to keep up with the top team in the conference. Their best chance of getting a win occurred in Game 1 but they couldn’t pull off the upset losing 125-118.
The past two games haven’t been close with a combined 54 points separating the teams. And it didn’t help that Russell Westbrook exited Game 2 with an ankle injury. He returned for Game 3 with a triple-double, but otherwise wasn’t much of a factor.
When Embiid is dialed in he’s tough to defend. And he made the Wizards pay on Saturday scoring 36 points on 14 of 18 shooting. He did all that damage in 28 minutes and watched the closing quarter from the bench. Embiid was such a force drawing the attention of defenders that his teammates were often open for clear looks. And when they got them they rarely missed. The Sixers shot 58.6 percent from the field and made 17 of 33 three-pointers.
Tobias Harris had 20 points and 13 rebounds, Ben Simmons added 14 points and nine assists and Danny Green hit five three-pointers for 15 points. “When you shoot the ball that well you’re going to win a lot of games. We had one of those nights where everything fell for us,” Doc Rivers said.
With Westbrook and Bradley Beal nursing injuries, the Wizards just weren’t the same team that rolled through the second half of the season. Westbrook injured his ankle in Game 2 and was a game-time decision on Saturday. He ended up playing over 34 minutes and contributed a triple-double with 26 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Leading scorer Bradley Beal is dealing with a strained hamstring that forced him out regular season action at the end of the season. He scored 25 points but was just 1 of 8 from behind the arc.
The effort was an indication of just how misleading the stats are. The Wizards never led and trailed by as many as 31 points. Shooting from distance has been a problem the last two games and the Wiz lost both by 25 and 29 points. They were just 2 of 22 in Game 2 and not much better on Saturday hitting 8 of 35 triples.
76ers vs Wizards Predictions
Our best bet: Philadelphia 76ers -7.5 and UNDER 231
The Wizards have no answer for Embiid and that’s a big problem. He’s pretty much had his way so for averaging nearly 30 points while knocking down 67.4 percent of his shots. The Wizards employed different strategies on Saturday and nothing worked. I don’t expect the Sixers to shoot lights out again, but the offense has been clicking and Washington is out of gas. Philly would prefer to not play another game in this series and I anticipate Embiid and Co. get the job done on Monday.
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