By: Emily Musella
Celtics host 76ers in epic Eastern Conference showdown
The Boston Celtics host the Philadelphia 76ers for Tuesday night NBA action! The Celtics have won back-to-back games and are looking to climb their way up in the Eastern Conference standings. On the flip side, the 76ers are 1-1 in their last two games but currently sit in the second spot in the Eastern Conference. Can the Boston team defend the Garden, or will the 76ers storm the court for the W? You know what time it is, the breakdown shakedown!
Odds: PHI -1.5, BOS +1.5
Tip-off: April 6th, 7:30 p.m., EST, TD Garden
The 76ers travel to Boston tonight to take on the Celtics. As for injuries, Joel Embiid is good to go and potentially Tyrese Maxey as well. It goes to show how much the 76ers rely on big man Embiid as the Philly team struggled in their Sunday loss against the Memphis Grizzlies. Tobias Harris was the only efficient player for the 76ers posting 21 points and shooting 8 of 14 on the night. Can the Philly team take over the Garden in Boston and secure the W?
Offensively, the 76ers are 10th in total score, 9th in FG%, 12th in 3-point%, and 5th in rebounds. Most of their success comes from attacking the paint and the rim by using their bigs throughout the game. In their last matchup against the Celtics, Embiid, Harris, and Simmons all showcased their efficient and skillful capabilities which ultimately led to a W. They shot nearly 56% from the FG range and nearly 43% from the 3-point range.
On the defense, the 76ers struggled to keep Jaylen Brown from dominating with 42 points. Jayson Tatum was out due to health and safety protocols at the time, so his presence will be felt tonight. The upside is the Philly team is 7th in total points given up, 4th against the FG range, and 10th defending the 3-point line. Therefore, I do not see the 76ers surrendering a ton of points to the Celtics tonight. Though keeping the Jay’s in check will be nearly impossible, the Philly team will need to keep their eyes on the Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart connection on top of the instrumental Evan Fournier from the 3-point range as well. Look for Joel Embiid to play extra physical tonight as Philly vs. Boston is always a good representation of how competitive players can be.
The Celtics are cruising with back-to-back wins against the Houston Rockets and Charlotte Hornets. Recently acquired player Evan Fournier has finally showcased his 3-pt shooting skills for the C’s offense with 23 points and 17 points in the last two games. When the Celtics matched up against the 76ers twice so far this season, the 76ers nabbed both W’s. On the plus side, Semi Ojeleye is cleared to play tonight after suffering a hip injury against the Bucks on March 24th.
Offensively, the Jay’s of Tatum and Brown continue to be the main targets for opposing teams. However, with Marcus Smart performing exceptionally well on both sides of the court and Kemba Walker continuing to evolve throughout the season, the Celtics could be finding their groove at the right moment. Bench contributions from Payton Pritchard, Grant Williams, and Luke Kornet should catapult the C’s offense to keep pace with the 76ers. In terms of racking up points in the paint, look for Jaylen Brown and Robert Williams III (Time Lord) to excel in attacking the rim.
The biggest issues on the defense will be defending the 76ers big three of Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and Ben Simmons. In their last head-to-head, Embiid racked up 38 points, Harris notched 23 points, and Simmons posted 15 points. It’s safe to say that the Celtics will once again have their hands full with a fully capable and explosive 76ers offense. Stopping Embiid is a huge task on its own, but limiting his in the paint damage will be pivotal if the Celtics want to leave the Garden with another W.
ANALYSIS AND BEST BETS
The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers are primed up for an Eastern Conference grudge match. Both squads are trending in the right direction and it will ultimately come down to who can limit the damage done by the stars on each side. With players like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons all on the court, the fans will be in for a good one tonight!
My first best bet is for Jaylen Brown to post OVER 21.5 points tonight. In his last matchup against the 76ers, Brown racked up 42 points and played exceptionally well on both sides of the court. On the season, Brown averages 24.3 points per game and I feel confident that he comfortably hits the OVER tonight.
My second best bet is for Jayson Tatum to hit OVER 2.5 3-pointers tonight. Tatum has recently been stellar from the 3-point range and averages 38% on the season from that range. Tatum also averages at least 3 3-pointers per game this season. I am confident that JT will hit the OVER tonight because the C’s will need him to play exceptionally well.