Two Eastern Conference series could finish up on Monday night in the Northeast.
The Boston Celtics are looking to complete a sweep of the Nets in Brooklyn. There haven’t been any dominant victories in the series, but Boston has consistently delivered down the stretch while Brooklyn falters.
About 90 minutes south in Philadelphia, the 76ers are out to make the Raptors extinct (for this season, at least) in Game 5. Joel Embiid delivered a stellar game-winner in Game 3, but Toronto showed some life at home in Game 4 to take the series back to Philly.
We have three picks between those two games of all shapes and sizes. We have one Kevin Durant player prop, a moneyline bet and a pick on the Raptors vs. 76ers total. Check them out below.
NBA Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|Celtics vs. Nets Prop||7 p.m. ET|
|Celtics vs. Nets Moneyline||7 p.m. ET|
|Raptors vs. 76ers Total||8 p.m. ET|
Celtics vs. Nets Prop
|Pick||Kevin Durant — Over 3.5 Turnovers|
|Tipoff||7 p.m. ET|
Brandon Anderson: What a miserable series this has been for Kevin Durant.
Game 3 was straight up embarrassing for Durant. He sat only two minutes while also being practically invisible for much of the game. The Celtics have defended KD physically, and he just doesn’t look up for the fight.
Durant took only 11 shots in 46 minutes and had another subpar scoring game in Game 3. He scored just 16 points and got to the line only twice, a pathetic effort for a guy who looked like the best player in the world in last year’s playoffs.
The Nets are a flawed and incomplete team, and Durant is being asked to do everything. He did record eight assists, and he’s handling and creating a lot more lately — and making a lot of mistakes along the way.
Durant had five turnovers in Game 3, and that was actually his best game of the series in that regard, with six in each of the first two games. Jayson Tatum has defended him brilliantly, and the Celtics are also throwing plenty of other bodies at him.
Durant is at 5.7 turnovers per game this series, and this isn’t a new problem. Though his numbers were terrific in March and April at 31/7/8, his turnovers were up then too. He averaged 4.4 per game and went over this line in 14 of 19 (74%). Now his minutes are even higher and should be as close to 48 as he can handle with the season on the line.
Maybe KD finally breaks out and finds his shooting stroke, and maybe the Nets make a series of this still. But this line is comically low with how Boston has defended Durant this series. I would’ve happily played the over at 4.5, so I’ll certainly take this gift at 3.5.
Celtics vs. Nets Moneyline
|Pick||Celtics ML (+100)|
|Tipoff||7 p.m. ET|
Raheem Palmer: You wouldn’t know it from what we’ve seen this season and throughout this series, but the Brooklyn Nets were favorites to win the NBA title for a large portion of the season. As it turns out, championships aren’t won on paper, and they certainly aren’t won with teams who struggle defensively.
If there was only one thing you could count on from the Boston Celtics, it would be defense. They ranked first in Defensive Rating in the regular season, allowing 106.9 points per 100 possessions in their non-garbage time minutes. That top-ranked defense has carried over to the postseason, making life miserable for Durant.
In a pivotal Game 3, Durant was held to just 16 points and five turnovers. And outside of a 39-point outburst in Game 1, Kyrie Irving hasn’t been much better. He shot 4-of-13 and scored 10 points in Game 2 and scored 16 points shooting 6-of-17 from the floor in Game 3.
Throughout this series, the Nets are scoring just 1.08 points per possession, a far cry from what we imagined a team with two of the league’s top-10 scorers was capable of. Even more problematic is that the Nets allowed a whopping 37 points off 21 turnovers in Game 3, and they have a 15.4% turnover rate for the series.
Along with the turnovers, which have led to easy Celtics baskets, the Nets haven’t been able to slow down Tatum, who has been the best player in this series. He has simultaneously slowed down Durant while averaging a series high 29.7 points and eight assists. Jaylen Brown has also chipped in 22.7 points, and a series high three steals per game.
If you’re betting on the Nets, you’re essentially betting that elite shotmaking from Durant and Irving can overcome all of their other issues. Through the first three games of this series, it’s becoming increasingly clear that isn’t going to happen.
Durant and Irving had unsustainably high workloads just to make the postseason, they just don’t have a lot in the tank against a Celtics defense that has been downright stifling. Durant and Irving are averaging 43.1 and 41.9 minutes per game respectively, and the Nets are struggling to remain competitive down the stretch of games.
Tatum, Brown and Marcus Smart are ready to take the leap into being the cream of the crop in the Eastern Conference. In reality, they’ve been on the cusp for the past five seasons with three Eastern Conference finals appearances.
Raptors vs. 76ers Total
|Tipoff||8 p.m. ET|
Austin Wang: The 76ers had a great chance to close out this series with a sweep in Toronto, but the scrappy Raptors fought hard and were able to stay alive, even after Fred VanVleet left the game with a hip injury. This series heads back to Philadelphia, where I am eyeing the total in what I expect to be a low-scoring game.
VanVleet will miss this game, although he has not had a productive series. The Raptors will likely deploy bigger lineups and give more minutes to Thaddeus Young and Precious Achiuwa. Toronto’s scoring is going to dip, and it’ll need to count on their defense. Also, Gary Trent Jr. is still recovering from an illness and Scottie Barnes is still nursing an ankle injury.
Joel Embiid will continue to play through the pain of a thumb injury that will require offseason surgery, but it was obvious that this affected his game as he went 7-for-16 from the field and 21 points, much lower than his season average. With Embiid’s usage rate and James Harden also struggling from the field, this is not promising for the Sixers.
Finally, Matisse Thybulle will be back in the roster for Game 5. Even if he plays just 15 minutes, his defensive presence will affect the scoring, especially against a banged-up Raptors team.
This is another win-or-go-home for the Raptors. I see a rock fight between these two teams and I am taking the under at 210 (down to 209).