Joel Embiid and Co. secure W over the Celtics
The Boston Celtics travel to Philadelphia to take on the juggernaut 76ers. The C’s are coming off a devastating blowout against the Knicks (105-75) from Sunday. Meanwhile, the 76ers lost to the Grizzlies (106-104) on Saturday. Both teams have dealt with COVID-19 related issues this season and it is clearly showing the impact for each team’s success. Who comes out on top for this Easern Conference matchup? You know what time it is, the breakdown shakedown!
Odds: PHI -5.5, BOS +5.5
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. EST, Wells Fargo Center
The Celtics remain without star player Jayson Tatum due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. However, the C’s do get back Robert Williams III from the Covid list which will help the C’s inside the paint. Kemba Walker made his season debut against the Knicks, which was spoiled by their blowout loss. Jaylen Brown continues to prove that he is the go-to man on the court as he racked up 25 points in the loss. Other players such as Tristan Thompson, Marcus Smart, and Kemba Walker will need a big game tonight against the 76ers if they want a chance for a W.
Offensively, the Celtics have dipped down to a 17th ranked total score team by putting up an average of 110 points per game. The upside, they are nearly identical to their opposition tonight from the 3-pt range. The last time these two teams met was in the first round of the NBA Eastern Conference finals. The scoring leaders in that series for the Celtics were Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker. Without Tatum, Walker and Brown will need to carry most of the offensive firepower for their squad.
Defensively, the C’s face the bigs in Joel Embiid, Dwight Howard, and Ben Simmons. Embiid was out for a game but was upgraded to PROBABLE for tonight’s matchup. The other player to watch out for is the return of Seth Curry. Curry dealt with COVID-19 and is cleared to play tonight. If the Celtics want to shut down the 76ers, they will need to limit the damage done by Embiid. As for the perimeter game, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown will look to contain the 3-pt shots by Curry and Tobias Harris on the 76ers.
The 76ers come in as heavy favorites with the return of Joel Embiid and Seth Curry for their squad. Also, without Jayson Tatum on the court for the C’s, it will be an uphill battle for the Boston team to win tonight. The 76ers are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Tonight, the Philly team will look to bounce back and avenger their postseason woes against the Boston Celtics. With Seth Curry back on the court, 76ers fans rejoice as the 3-pt mega shooter will most likely rack up enough points for his squad for a victory.
Offensively, Joel Embiid leads his team in average points scored per game (25), followed by Tobias Harris (19), and Seth Curry (17). The biggest advantage the 76ers have in this matchup is a dominant scoring capability. Not to mention the struggles the Celtics defense has had defending the glass game this season. If the 76ers want to come out on top and avenge their postseason rivals, they will need Embiid to post over 30 points, Curry to be lights out from the 3-pt range, and attack the rim at all costs.
Defensively, the 76ers catch a massive break with no Jayson Tatum tonight. However, the return of Kemba Walker can be problematic for them as he posted over 30 points in their last meeting. The target objectives for the 76ers defense will be to limit the damage done by Jaylen Brown, force Walker to move outside of his comfort zone, and don’t let rookie Payton Pritchard get the best of you with his speed and skillfulness. To cap things off, the 76ers defense is superb in containing their opposition from the FG line, ranked 4th in the league.
ANALYSIS AND PREDICTION
This Eastern Conference matchup is full of skillful individuals who know how to rack up points and put on a show for their dedicated and passionate fan bases. The absence of Tatum is proving to be a problem for the Celtics and until he returns, the C’s will need their other big playmakers to step up. I do see the 76ers winning this matchup simply because Joel Embiid will be on a mission to avenge Philly’s rivalry with the Boston team and Seth Curry will dominate the 3-pt line. However, the Celtics will not go quietly and because of that, Brown and Walker will combine for over 65 points tonight. Final Score: Philadelphia 76ers 117, Boston Celtics 113.