A 92-83 win on Friday rescued the Philadelphia 76ers from the abyss as they levelled their Eastern Conference semi-final with Boston at 2-2. More significantly, it calmed fears that the younger, vibrant 76ers were going to be wholly out-smarted by their more experienced rivals. Their threat, even with Game 5 on the Celtics’ court, is real.
However, Boston’s resilience is remarkable. Ray Allen is playing through ankle pain. Paul Pierce has a hobbled ankle. Avery Bradley’s shoulder has popped more times than a pilot’s ears. Kevin Garnett will be paying off his debt to Father Time for years after his eventual retirement. Two days of rest will have helped them significantly.
The Celtics are 1.42 to eventually win the series, with Philadelphia at 2.88. This evening, Boston are favoured by 5.5 points but given the to and fro of the games to date, it’s worth a punt on the Sixers on the handicap at 1.91 or going under the line of 173.5 total points.
On their own floor, Oklahoma City will look for closure when they host the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of their Western semi. Up 3-1, the Thunder are favourites to seal victory and book a showdown with San Antonio.
On the brink of an exit, Kobe Bryant ripped Pau Gasol for the late game errors that allowed OKC to snatch a 103-100 win on Saturday. Inconsistency has been their hallmark but Bryant’s shooting at crunchtime this post-season has also been below his own high standards.
It’s tough to bet against the Thunder sending the Lakers home for the summer and look for them to turn the screw in a relatively low-scoring game.
Bet of the Day: Go under 173.5 total points in Sixers – Celtics at 1.91.