After missing an opportunity Saturday to equalize their NBA Eastern Conference first-round series with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Brooklyn Nets will now have their backs to the wall until it’s over.
Betting markets think it will be over Tuesday night (TNT, 8 p.m. ET). Barring late developments, Philadelphia should close as a favorite near -7.5 points, with a no-vig money line suggesting a 75% win probability. Even if the Nets spring a Game 5 upset, the Sixers would be a short road favorite in Game 6 and then prohibitive favorites if a seventh game was needed in Philadelphia.
Sunday, the Westgate in Las Vegas posted Philadelphia at -10000 to win the series (bettors must risk $10K to win $100), Brooklyn at 2000 to rally all the way back to advance (risk $100 to win $2K).
Brooklyn owned riding time for most of Saturday’s 48 minutes. The Nets couldn’t win even though…
- Philadelphia had its lowest free-throw production of the series, making just 16 from the charity stripe after tallying 29, 26, and 30 in the first three games.
- Philadelphia had its highest turnover count of the series, losing the ball 18 times after just 13, 12, and 16 miscues.
- Philadelphia had its second worst three-point performance of the series. Shooting 8 of 26 was better than the woeful 3 of 25 in the opener, but a fall from 9/23 and 11/27 in their other victories.
(Note that all of those were factors keeping the scoring total of 220 under the market Over/Under of 231. Two Overs and two Unders so far this series, with a volatile sequence of 213, 268, 246, and 220.)
How did the Sixers win Game 4? The same way they’ve established dominance through the series. Two-point shooting and rebounding. Philadelphia outshot Brooklyn 58% to 46% inside the arc (biggest edge thus far), while winning the battle of the boards 56-42 (49-32 and 54-43 in earlier victories).
The Nets MUST make a high percentage of three-point shots to win because misses are virtual turnovers against great rebounders. Brooklyn shot 42.3% in their Game 1 upset on 11 of 26. Just 15 misses, and the equivalent of 63.4% on two’s. Afterward, Brooklyn missed 21, 31, and 26 three-point attempts, making only 31% in their losses (35 of 113).
Home-court advantage isn’t getting much market respect in this matchup. Philadelphia closed at -3 on the road Saturday. Even if Tuesday’s point spread rises to -8, that’s still just a five-point swing…representing an approximate home court value of 2.5 points at each site.
Road teams are 3-1 against the spread so far. Philadelphia’s margins averages through four games vs. the Nets: 10.0 points on the road, even though Joel Embiid missed a game, just 6.5 points at home.
Should Brooklyn get hot from long range and steal Tuesday’s tussle, Game 6 would be Thursday night at Barclays Center.