Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics Preview
The Boston Celtics will look to get back into the win column on Thursday as they welcome the Philadelphia 76ers to the TD Garden. The Celtics lost on Wednesday 122-117 to the Indiana Pacers, the loss snapped Boston’s four-game winning streak.
The Celtics come into Thursday’s game with a 17-6 record but Wednesday’s loss did drop the Celtics to third in the Eastern Conference. Boston is 10-0 at home this season.
As for the 76ers, they are 18-7 overall and one game behind the Celtics for third in the East. Philadelphia is coming off of a 97-92 win over the Denver Nuggets. The win was Philly’s third-straight and their 11th in 13 games.
This will be the second of four meetings between the Celtics and 76ers. Philadelphia won the first meeting 107-93 back on October 23. This will be Al Horford’s first game in Boston since leaving the Celtics for the 76ers this offseason.
Time: 8 PM ET
Arena: TD Garden, Boston MA
76ers: Jonah Bolden (GTD), Zhaire Smith (GTD)
Celtics: Gordon Hayward (GTD), Marcus Smart (Q), Robert Williams III (GTD), Tacko Fall (GTD)
Philadelphia 76ers Starting Lineup
The 76ers have been on a tear lately as they have won 11 of their last 13 games. That includes wins over Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, and Toronto Raptors.
Over the last 10 games, the 76ers have a 100.7 defensive rating which is second-best in the NBA during that time. Their net rating during that time is 9.2 which is fourth-best over that time frame.
Joel Embiid has been a big reason behind the 76ers win streak as he is leading the team in scoring at 22.0 points per game as well as rebounding at 12.4 per game. Embiid ranks 7th in the NBA in rebounds per game.
During the 76ers win streak though it has been the play of Tobias Harris that has helped the 76ers find that next gear. In his last 10 games, Harris is averaging 21.2 points per game on 46.9% shooting. For the season Harris is averaging 19.2 points per game on 48.5% shooting.
The 76ers come into Thursday’s game ranking No. 15 on offensive rating, No. 3 in defensive rating, and No. 6 in net rating.
The defense is led by Ben Simmons who is having a season worthy of Defensive Player of the Year recognition. He leads the NBA in steals per game at 2.2 per game.
In the win over the Nuggets, Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid combined for 42 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists.
Boston Celtics Starting Lineup
The Boston Celtics saw the return of Gordon Hayward on Monday for the team to lose him in Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers. Hayward left the game after being hit in the nose on a drive in the fourth quarter.
He did not return and was reported as having a headache after the game. As for the rest of the Celtics, they lost despite Kemba Walker’s season-high 44 point performance.
Walker was 16-28 from the field and he also finished with seven assists. The loss snapped Boston’s four-game winning streak that included impressive wins over the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets.
The Celtics have been impressive this season with their balance as they are No. 7 in offensive rating and No. 5 in defensive rating. They are No. 4 in net rating.
A big part of the Celtics balance has been their scoring as Boston has four players who average at least 17.4 points per game. The tandem of Kemba Walker, Jason Tatum, Gordon Hayward, and Jaylen Brown has been outstanding.
Those four have been on the court with Daniel Theis for 102 possessions this season and during that time they are outscoring opponents by 45.9 points (via Cleaning the Glass). They average 138.2 points per 100 possessions while giving up 92.3 points.
Key Player Matchups
Kemba Walker vs Ben Simmons
One of the NBA’s best point guards goes up against one of the NBA’s best defenders. Walker is coming off of a 44-point performance on Wednesday. It was the fifth time he’s scored 30 or more this season.
Simmons had seven points, nine rebounds, and seven assists in the 76ers win over the Nuggets. It was the first time he failed to score in double figures since November 23.
In their first meeting of the season, Simmons dominated the matchup as he went for 24-8-9 while shooting 11-16 from the field. He also helped hold Walker to 12 points, two rebounds, and two assists as he only shot 4-18 for the game.
Daniel Theis vs Joel Embiid
Daniel Theis has been solid this season for the Celtics but he faces one of the biggest challenges of the season on Thursday. Joel Embiid is one of the league’s best big men and he is someone that Theis and Boston will need to key on stopping.
Embiid had 15 points and 13 rebounds in their first matchup but he did only shoot 5-13 from the field. Theis only played 9:52 in that game and he never matched up on Embiid as Kanter was used on him the most.
Expect Theis to be the main guy on him this time.
The Celtics are led by Kemba Walker ($7.7k) and Jaylen Brown ($6.6k) in fantasy projections as Walker is projected to have 37.5 fantasy points and Brown is projected to have 37.3.
As for the 76ers they are led by Joel Embiid’s 46.8 fantasy points projection on FanDuel. Embiid is available for $9.5k. Ben Simmons is projected to score 37.5 fantasy points and cost $7.6k on FanDuel.
If you are looking for a cheaper option then Al Horford could be a good option at $5.9k while being projected to score 27.9 points.
Bet on Matchup
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