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NBA Picks: May 10

By Lior Lampert

Tonight’s slate consists of two crucial Game 5 matchups. The word crucial cannot be taken lightly in this scenario, as the Game 5 winner of a series tied 2-2 goes on to advance roughly 80 percent of the time. With both the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers defending their home courts to this point, it is only a matter of time before something gives.

A common phrase we hear during playoff basketball in the NBA is “a series doesn’t start until the home team loses,” and I think tonight is the night we see this series unofficially begin in that sense. Between the return of 76ers superstar big man Joel Embiid, the return of vintage James Harden, and the Heat continuing to struggle to shoot the ball from three, it feels as though momentum has shifted in this series. 

The Heat have shot a combined 14-65 from three in the last 2 games. Pair that with the fact that Kyle Lowry is continuing to nurse a hamstring injury that has been visibly bothering him, it may be time for head coach Erik Spoelstra to re-insert Duncan Robinson into the lineup. Robinson has played a total of 1 minute throughout the entire duration of the series. The Heat’s ability to stretch and space the floor is a big part of what has made them so dangerous offensively to this point during the season. They simply do not have many players who can bail them out offensively to overcome poor team shooting nights and that has shown over the last two games. Even with Jimmy Butler scoring 40 points in the Game 4 loss, the Heat had only one other starter score double-digit points.

On the other hand, we must give credit to Philly. They made their adjustments and found a way to take care of business at home to tie this series up at 2-2. Tyrese Maxey continues to ascend, Tobias Harris continues to make an impact, James Harden seems to be tapping into his old self, and Joel Embiid continues to show why he was in contention for this year’s NBA MVP award. Harden seems to be hitting his stride at the right time while the return of Embiid changed the entire complexion of this series. 

Come playoff time, there is nothing more valuable than having players who are able to create their own shot and get you a basket when your team needs it. And for this reason, it is tough not to like the 76ers. In a pivotal game 5, I will take the team that has four players who can go get you a bucket in crunch time to close a game as opposed to the team with only one of those options. I believe the 76ers win this game outright, but will be taking them with the points under the expectation that this will be a tight game to the very end. I will also place a smaller wager on them ML.

Pick: 76ers +3.5 -110 (BetMGM).

Betstamp is all about transparency, so whether you want to tail or fade my picks or even just check in on them to see how I’m going you can find my full documented betting record here. Admittedly I have not had the strongest start in my betstamp tracking days but am working hard and staying patient as I look to build my way back up into the green.

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