NBA Three at 3: Best Bets for Friday, December 3
There's a nine-game NBA slate on Friday, December 3, when the Philadelphia 76ers clash with the Atlanta Hawks and the Golden State Warriors host the Phoenix Suns — winners of their last 18 games — in an ESPN doubleheader. With that said, the Three at 3 has you covered after going 2-1 on Wednesday:
1. 76ers at Hawks - When the Hawks beat the Sixers in the postseason last year, Ben Simmons' lack of a jumper played a huge role in Philadelphia getting bounced. That was a non-issue when the Sixers earned a 122-94 blowout victory over this Hawks team back on October 30. That doesn't mean that Philadelphia is better without Simmons, but an argument can be made that the Sixers match up better without him against the Hawks. Atlanta doesn't have the luxury of laying off somebody and paying more attention to Joel Embiid. If the Hawks do that, guys like Tyrese Maxey, Seth Curry and Danny Green are all capable of making them pay from deep. And on the other end of the floor, Maxey is a great on-ball defender that can hound Trae Young all night. Philadelphia is also coming off a game in which the team scored only 87 points in a loss to the Boston Celtics. Since the start of the 2019-20 season, the Sixers are 11-5 against the spread when coming off a game in which they scored 95 points or less. And in that same span, the Hawks are 1-6 against the spread when coming off a road win of three or less points.
THE PICK: 76ers +2.5
2. Suns at Warriors - The Suns are getting as few as 6.5 points in this game, depending on where you look. That makes the 7.5 an incredible value, if you can find it anywhere. Sure, Phoenix will be without Devin Booker in this game, but the Suns just beat the Warriors in a game in which Booker sat the entire second half. The fact of the matter is that Phoenix might not be likely to win this game without its top scorer, but the Suns play good enough defense to keep this thing somewhat close. Mikal Bridges is the key to that for Phoenix, as he completely shut Steph Curry down at the Footprint Center the other night. It's highly unlikely that Curry will shoot the ball as poorly as he did in that game, but it's still hard to imagine him going off against a Suns team that is extremely disciplined defensively. Also, Phoenix is 18-8 against the spread after having allowed 105 or fewer points in back-to-back games since the start of last season. The Suns are also oddly 13-3 against the spread on Friday nights in that span.
THE PICK: Suns +7.5
3. Clippers at Lakers - The Lakers will be going for their third-straight win when they "host" the Clippers on Friday, and Ty Lue's team has lost three straight and seven of its last 10. The Clippers are really in a bad way right now, and it's been their defense unraveling that has caused them to slide. This Clippers team is fourth in the NBA in defensive rating this season, but the group is just 11th when you only count the last 10 games that every team has played. And if you use the last three — all of which have been Clippers losses — the team is just 27th in the league in that time. With the way the Clippers are playing, it's just really hard to lay off of a Lakers team that will be energized by the return of LeBron James. The Lakers have already started to play some good basketball recently, as they have won three of their last four. Russell Westbrook is a huge part of the reason they've done so, as he's playing his best basketball since arriving in Los Angeles right now. That's especially important against a Clippers team that is rather weak in the backcourt.
THE PICK: Lakers -1.5