The Boston Celtics head to the City of Brotherly Love Thursday night to face the Philadelphia 76ers. With both teams fighting for positioning in the Eastern Conference heading towards the All-Star break, this match should be the most entertaining game on Thursday night.
Philadelphia has taken the last three games against Boston, with its most recent game being on the road. Will the Sixers continue their streak against the Celtics? Or will Boston come out of Philadelphia with a win? With the Sixers favored by 2.5 points, who should we choose in this one?
Chasing the Bucks
The Boston Celtics are currently third in the Eastern Conference, well behind the Milwaukee Bucks but looking to catch up to the Miami Heat. With a win over the Sixers, they can continue their climb in the conference.
After a big game that ended in a loss against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, this well-rounded Celtics team will look to claim a victory against another strong team in the East.
Overall, the Celtics are one of the best scoring teams in the league, averaging 110.9 points per game (14th in the league), while only allowing 103.5. Boston is full of talent and has played well in its last 10 games.
The only thing we should worry about in this game is injuries. Three Celtics have been dealing with injuries, as Kemba Walker, Daniel Theis and Romeo Longford have all been fighting their respective ailments.
If the Celtics are at full strength, it’s going to be difficult for Philadelphia to keep up.
Climbing The Ladder
The 76ers are no slouch in the East either, currently sitting in fifth place, so a win over the Celtics would give them a chance to improve their position. Before their win against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday, though, the 76ers had lost four straight games (Magic, Heat, Pacers, Rockets). Although all of those were away games, we must take into consideration that Philadelphia hasn’t played well recently.
Philadelphia has quite the star-studded cast as well, with Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons. It seems strange that it has only won 24 games.
Thursday night will be a true test of the 76ers’ depth, however, since Embiid has been downgraded to out after dislocating his finger. With Embiid being out, the rest of the 76ers will have to contend with the Celtics offense. Doing so won’t be easy, however, because, with Embiid out, the Celtics will be able to focus more attention on stopping Harris and Simmons.
Philadelphia has left little confidence against the spread all year with a record of 16-21-1. The good news is this year, the Sixers have been a lot better against Boston. In the two times they’ve faced off this season, the Sixers were able to cover both games. Overall, their record against Boston doesn’t look great, going 3-7 in their last 10.
Pick and Prediction
This game on the surface may seem like you should stay away from it, considering that the Sixers have covered well against the Celtics this year. The Celtics, however, have a great record against the spread so far at 20-12-2. If Walker and Co. can stay healthy through the entire game, I don’t see the Sixers being able to keep up with the intensity Boston plans to bring to Philadelphia.
Philadelphia is usually a team that I’d pick in these situations, being a home team that’s looking to improve its position. With some great scorers on offense, the Sixers have been able to contend with the league’s best. Unfortunately, with Embiid being out after that dislocated finger, I don’t see Harris and Simmons being able to keep up with Boston.
I’ll take the underdog Celtics to steal one on the road from the Sixers. Boston +2.5.