The NBA is back after a one-day hiatus.
Thursday was an odd night with no NBA playoff games. And Friday is a bit odd too. Instead of Game 3 between the Celtics and Bucks and Warriors and Grizzlies, we get Game 3 between the Heat and 76ers and Suns and Mavericks. The first four teams opened their second-round series on Sunday yet aren’t playing the third game of their series until Saturday.
With Joel Embiid potentially out again for Friday night’s game, the Heat are 3.5-point favorites on the road. Miami is up 2-0 in the series thanks to two easy home wins with Kyle Lowry on the bench because of a hamstring injury.
Bam Adebayo has feasted in the first two games without Embiid on the other side. Adebayo had 23 points and nine rebounds on Wednesday after getting 24 points and 12 rebounds on Monday. The Sixers have been playing DeAndre Jordan, Georges Niang and Paul Reed at center during the series. And so far they’re not stopping Adebayo.
Tyrese Maxey bounced back with a 34-point Game 2 and will be needed to put up a similar performance in Game 3 if the Sixers are going to get back into the series. Even though Philadelphia is at home, it’s hard to see how the Sixers are going to win Game 3 and avoid the 3-0 deficit without Embiid.
The Suns are 1.5-point favorites at the Mavericks as they try to go up 3-0 in their series. Phoenix won Game 2 by 20 as Chris Paul and Devin Booker combined to score 58 points on 22-of-35 shooting from the field.
Dallas desperately needs someone other than Luka Doncic to step up in Game 3. Doncic has 80 of Dallas’ 223 points through the first two games of the series. Just two other players had more than 10 points in Game 2 as Doncic scored 35 and Jalen Brunson was the Mavs’ second-leading scorer with 16. Phoenix has seemed content to let Doncic get his share of points and shut down everyone else on the Mavericks. And so far it’s working.
But we’re inclined to take the Mavericks in Game 3 to at least give the series some semblance of competitiveness. Dallas shot over 40% from three in Game 2 and would love to repeat that in Game 3. But its defense is more important. The Mavericks allowed Phoenix to shoot over 64% from the field in Game 2. We think Dallas tightens up and Phoenix cools off enough for the Mavs to eke out a win.
On Saturday, the Bucks are 2.5-point favorites at home against the Celtics and the Warriors are 6.5-point favorites against the Grizzlies. Both series are tied 1-1 after the Celtics and Grizzlies got wins in Game 2. The Grizzlies will play Game 3 without the suspended Dillon Brooks for his foul that resulted in a fractured elbow for Gary Payton II. The Celtics are hoping that Marcus Smart is able to play on Saturday.
Kings are the only home dog in NHL playoffs
The Kings are the only home team underdog among the four hosting NHL playoff games on Friday night. Los Angeles grabbed a game at Edmonton to head home with the series tied 1-1 and is +120 to win straight up. You can also get the Kings +1.5 goals at -200 ahead of Game 3 and the total is 6.5 goals.
The Blues and Lightning are each -120 to win at home. St. Louis is tied 1-1 with the Minnesota Wild and Tampa Bay is tied 1-1 with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Boston is -125 at home to beat the Carolina Hurricanes as the Hurricanes are up 2-0 in their series.
Jason Day is the Wells Fargo favorite after Round 1
Jason Day played one of his best rounds in recent memory with a 7-under 63 to take the first-round lead at the Wells Fargo Championship. Day is now at +600 to win and Rory McIlroy is +800 after he shot a 3-under 67. Joel Dahmen is a shot back of Day and is +1100 while Max Home is +2200 after he also shot a 67.
The weather forecast isn’t great for Friday in Potomac, so the round could be delayed significantly for most of the field. The soft conditions from the rain could also lead to some low numbers.
Who cashed tickets Thursday?
New York Rangers and Florida Panthers bettors were happy as those two teams blew out their opponents to even their playoff series at 1-1. The Rangers beat the Penguins 5-2 while the Panthers beat the Capitals 5-1. Colorado got a 2-1 OT win over the Predators to go up 2-0 while Dallas beat Calgary 2-0 to tie the series at 1-1.
Shohei Ohtani and the Angels got an 8-0 win over the Red Sox Thursday afternoon and the Brewers continued the Reds’ miserable run with a 10-5 win. Oh, the Mets also scored seven runs in the ninth inning to grab an 8-7 win over the Phillies.