The final two NBA Finals losers, the Warmth and Suns, are in very related positions within the second spherical of the playoffs. Each took care of enterprise at house, then went on the highway Friday evening and acquired smoked.
Each nonetheless have a 2-1 lead, however the circumstances are fairly totally different. Miami scored below 20 factors in three of the 4 quarters of Recreation 3 in Philadelphia, the place Joel Embiid returned to the 76ers’ lineup. The large man posted 18 factors and 11 rebounds within the 99-79 route, and now if the Sixers can win Sunday, you’ve acquired your self a sequence with a special dynamic.
Phoenix, then again, doesn’t really feel so on the verge of getting wrapped up in drama, even when Dallas follows up its 103-94 victory (it was double digits many of the method) with one other win in Recreation 4. Perhaps the Suns have to get again to creating Luka Doncic do all of it himself as a substitute of spreading issues round, however there’s not a tectonic shift available on this sequence that adjustments the straightforward reality of the Suns being higher.
That’s by no means a lot the case with Philadelphia, the place the 76ers have the perfect participant within the sequence on their aspect now, and it’s a query of whether or not Embiid can get sufficient help from his flawed supporting forged and Playoff Doc Rivers to beat an elite participant in his personal proper, Jimmy Butler, and a particularly well-coached and cohesive group behind him.
It’s additionally simply as vital to the 76ers that with Embiid again, James Harden doesn’t have any notions of being the highest man, and likewise Philadelphia can survive him turning the ball over seven instances in a 20-point win. It’s only a lot simpler for the Sixers to perform when Embiid is the No. 1 possibility, and Harden thinks he’s the No. 2, however actually he’s behind Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris within the pecking order offensively.
All of that makes it much more fascinating to comply with Philly-Miami going into Sunday than Dallas-Phoenix, and that’s earlier than you even get to the Mavericks being coached by Jason Kidd. That sequence continues to be Phoenix’s to lose. You get the sensation that within the East, it would flip into the 76ers’ sequence to win.