It is a potential NBA Finals preview as the Philadelphia 76ers head to the desert to battle the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. It's time to continue our NBA odds series with a 76ers-Suns prediction and pick.
The 76ers defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 122-97 on Friday night. James Harden led the way with a monster stat line of 29 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists. He shot 7-of-15 from the field while knocking down all 11 of his free throws. Fellow superstar Joel Embiid chipped in 27 points and 10 boards.
Philadelphia hit 46.7 percent of its shots, including 42.9 percent on triples The 76ers dominated the boards 52-39, pulling down rebounds at ease. Philadelphia has won three in a row and five of the last six. The 76ers are now percentage points ahead of the Miami Heat for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, though it's a heated battle with four teams in the mix.
The Suns defeated the Denver Nuggets 140-130 on Thursday night behind a spectacular fourth quarter and the return of Chris Paul. Paul had been out since the All-Star Game with a broken right thumb. His return was welcome, as he scored 17 points and handed out 13 assists.
While Paul's return helped the Suns, Devin Booker was the star on Thursday. Booker went off for 49 points, shooting 16-of-25 from the field and hitting 2-of-5 from the 3-point line while making 15-of-17 from the charity stripe. He also distributed 10 assists to his credit.
Moreover, Mikal Bridges chipped in with big contributions, scoring 22 points on a scorching 8-of-9 shooting, nailing 3-of-4 from 3-point land. The Suns have won seven in a row and have officially clinched the top seed in the Western Conference. Phoenix also guaranteed home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the 76ers-Suns odds.
NBA Odds: 76ers-Suns Odds
76ers: +4 (-110)
Suns: -4 (-110)
Over: 228.5 (-110)
Under: 228.5 (-110)
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Why The 76ers Could Cover The Spread
Philadelphia could cover based on what the Suns might do now that they have clinched home-court advantage. Phoenix might limit minutes with eight games left. If Phoenix does rest players, Philadelphia could gain an advantage. It also helps that the 76ers have played the Suns tough even when battling the entire squad. The 76ers nearly beat the Suns when the teams last met in February.
In the 114-109 loss, the 76ers played well enough to win and even were up by 14 at one point. Embiid scored 34 points in a big performance. Tobias Harris chipped in with 30 points on 13-of-18 shooting. The 76ers hit their free throws, going 94.4 percent from the charity stripe. With this in mind, Harden is the key for Philadelphia. He joined the 76ers shortly after their last game against the Suns. Philadelphia traded for him specifically to have an extra weapon against elite teams like the Suns.
The 76ers could cover the spread and or win if Harden can get his rhythm going and convert his opportunities. The 76ers need to defend Booker and Paul well and force other players to beat them. If the 76ers can get to the free-throw line, they can capitalize on their chances and take advantage of their top-ranked free-throw shooting.
Why The Suns Could Cover The Spread
Phoenix is the best team in the NBA and the only team that will finish with 60 or more wins this season. They have done this through sheer force and brilliant playmaking. In their 114-109 win over the 76ers, they rallied from a 14-point deficit. Booker went off for 35 points. He shot 11-for-23 from the field, including 3-of-8 from beyond the arc. Bridges added 23 points while shooting 9-of-14 from the field. Paul contributed with 16 points on 7-of-18 from the field and also generated 12 assists.
The Suns have dominated this season through a great team effort. Booker is averaging 26.3 points per game. Deandre Ayton has been their rebounding machine, averaging 10.0 boards per game. Paul has been the visionary with 10.7 assists per game. Bridges is a fantastic defender. The Suns are the top shooting team in the NBA and an elite defensive unit.
The Suns could cover the spread if Booker and Paul continue to dominate, and the starting five continue to impress consistently. After combining for 116 points in their last outing, the five starters will look to repeat their efforts and spearhead a victory over Philadelphia.
Final 76ers-Suns Prediction & Pick
The 76ers and Suns might meet in the NBA Finals in a few months. Of course, that depends on if both teams can systematically advance through each round. Despite the threat of the Suns resting players, they still are the dominant team. Phoenix ideally would like to stay strong heading into the playoffs and will have other chances to rest leading into the playoffs. The Suns cover the spread here.
Final 76ers-Suns Prediction & Pick: Suns -4 (-110)