Brian Scalabrine: NBA champion on the Nets' future, whether Philly will blow a 3-0 lead and his best bet for Wednesday
I’m Brian Scalabrine, 11-year NBA vet and member of the world champion 2008 Boston Celtics. Moving forward I’ll be writing regular columns here at Pickswise, giving my thoughts on the NBA betting market. It’s been a busy week in the association, and there’s a lot to digest.
Today we’ll be talking about one team that just got swept, and one team that is looking to avoid blowing a 3-0 lead. We’ll start with the Nets before getting to the 76ers, and then wrapping things up with my best bet for Wednesday’s slate.
Check out Pickswise’s best bets for all NBA playoff games
The Nets should run it back
There are a lot of questions about what the Nets should do next year, and I think there are only really two answers. One, you bite the bullet and hope Kyrie opts in. But I am not aligning myself with Kyrie Irving for three, four or five more years. That is absolute insanity.
If Irving is back, they might as well just run it all the way back. Assuming Ben Simmons can change some of those crazy outfits into basketball attire and you add Joe Harris back in the mix, the floor is really going to open up and they’ll have a great lineup. You can upgrade the roster at the margins with cheap deals and build something great around those guys.
I feel like the Nets will likely run it back, but there is another option. Brooklyn could also absolutely blow everything up and even look to trade Kevin Durant. But for all the GMs out there, I have one piece of advice. Do not be one foot in and one foot out. Either go all in and run it back with this core in an attempt to win it all, or just get out and start your rebuild.
Pressure is on for Philly
The pressure is mounting in Philadelphia. The 76ers originally had everything going for them. They took a quick 3-0 lead over Toronto, and Tyrese Maxey was the breakout star of the playoffs. That 3-0 lead has all of a sudden turned into a 3-2 lead because of the gritty and scrappy Raptors.
I do think the 76ers are going to go up to Toronto and win Game 6. But if they lose, oh my goodness. From Doc Rivers to James Harden’s 50-million a year contract extension to all the answers Joel Embiid would have to provide for blowing another golden opportunity.
It would be a massive choke against a Raptors team that is banged up without Fred VanVleet. When I look at this series, because I root for disaster, I kind of want to see Toronto win and force this thing to a Game 7. But unfortunately, I think the 76ers got the slap in the face they needed to wake up, and they’ll have that chip on their shoulder back that they had in the first three games of this series.
Maxey plays with a ton of energy here, Harden breaks out of his slump and Embiid will be spectacular. The 76ers will win Game 6, but as a guy who roots for chaos, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to see a Game 7 on Philly’s floor and see how each one of these guys handles the pressure.
Scal’s best NBA betting picks for Wednesday’s slate: Bulls +12, CHI/MIL over 217.5
My eyes are all set on this Bulls/Bucks game. We know the Bucks are going to win, but by how much? 12 seems like a lot for this kind of game, so I’m taking Bulls +12 on the spread. In a playoff elimination game, unless the team has no soul or heart whatsoever, it’s hard to lose by more than 12 points. So I do like the Bulls to have a token effort down the stretch to make this a fake 7-point loss.
But the play I like even more here is the over 217.5. I think the Bulls are going to channel their offensive side and play a lot faster here. Their strategy will be to try to open up the floor and get going up and down the floor to possibly catch the Bucks sleeping a bit.
Check out our same game parlay for Bulls vs Bucks (+1631 odds!)
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