Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics Matchup Preview
These two are all too familiar with each other as the Celtics will take on the 76ers in the 3-6 matchup to start the NBA Playoffs. The 76ers took a hit with the Ben Simmons injury but the Celtics have a question mark with Kemba Walker’s knee. Boston is at +1500 to win it all and the 76ers are at +5000, which is on par with the Blazers and Jazz. Boston are -360 favorites to win the series. This isn’t a surprise with Simmons out and the 76ers looking shaky. This has been a back and forth series over the last few seasons and over the last ten games, both teams have split. Philadelphia lost three of their final four games and the Celtics won four of their last five including a big win against Toronto. Philadelphia’s road numbers have been talked about all year and it is hard to say over a bubble stretch how much of an effect on these two teams. This game is the 6:30 game, which is the third game of the day. Boston is technically the home team and is slight favorites.
Time: 6:30 PM ET
Arena: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Lake Buena Vista FL
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76ers Starting 5
While Ben Simmons has had some issues against Boston in the postseason, the loss is still going to be tough to overcome. Both of these teams have been relatively similar this season. Philadelphia ranks 13th inefficiency and their strong point has been defense, ranking 6th in the league. Boston has begun to close the rebounding gap as they ranked 8th this season. However, Philadelphia has dominated on the boards this season against Boston. The 76ers defensively have had some issues in the bubble. Against point guards, they ranked 19th out of 22 in the bubble in defensive efficiency. If Walker is fully healthy this is where Boston can find some scoring against a tougher frontcourt defense. It will be interesting to see if Boston lets Joel Embiid do his thing while they clamp down on the others. Boston ranked 18th out of 22 in defensive efficiency against centers. They were excellent against other positions. Josh Richardson is a name that is going to have to step up and the 76ers are going to need to get scoring from their bench. Alec Burks was on fire over the final four games of the season, scoring 20+ points in three of the four games. He also had 13 assists. I would imagine Burks has more of an impact in this series compared to Shake Milton.
Celtics Starting 5
The Celtics come into this series heavily favored and they will have an advantage with Ben Simmons out. Boston has gone 1-3 in the four regular-season games against the 76ers as they were severely outrebounded in each game. In their win, they were able to at least finish within five rebounds of the 76ers. The 76ers are going to make these Celtics work, especially with Horford and Harris. Jayson Tatum has struggled shooting in the four games. The same goes for Jaylen Brown as these two will be focused on quite often. However, Brown and Walker are the two names that can take advantage of their matchups. While Walker has struggled shooting, he has scored 22 per game in the three games this season. This is a series where we will see plenty of big Marcus Smart moments. He has played extremely well in the season series and will be asked to shut down the 76ers backcourt members. Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter will be tasked with going up against Embiid and this is a clear advantage for Embiid.
76ers vs Celtics Fantasy Basketball Angle
These games are never too exciting for fantasy purposes as most of these matchups are tough for both sides. Joel Embiid certainly has the highest upside of any player in this game and draws the best matchup as mentioned above. Embiid’s usage is also sky high and I would certainly look at him in a few lineups. Jayson Tatum is interesting as he will not get the usual Ben Simmons defense and he is a GPP play worth looking at. A lot of these other players are a big question mark as the shot is going to need to fall. Kemba Walker is still someone that is tough to trust as he has spent the bubble trying to work through the sore knee. Getting him at playoff speed is still something we haven’t seen.
76ers vs Celtics Betting Odds
76ers Odds: +200
Celtics Odds: -240
Spread: BOS -5.5
Boston draws a good matchup for this series and Game 1 they match the numbers for the series as heavy favorites. This is going to come down the x-factors of the 76ers and how good Joel Embiid can be. Boston should walk away with this series but there will be a game or two where the shots just aren’t falling. It happens with this team from time to time but I do like them to come out strong in this first game. In the bubble, the favorites won 62% of the time SU. They were 50% ATS. Boston was 3-4-1 ATS and 5-3 SU. The 76ers were 3-5 ATS and 4-4 SU. The O/U was favorable at 6-2.
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