It’s a clash of Atlantic Division teams on the parquet floor in the City of Brotherly Love. The Boston Celtics are on the road as they travel to face the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night. Boston comes in off a 119-100 road victory to sweep a home-and-home set against the Pacers when the teams met Wednesday night. Philadelphia was upended 109-98 at home by Charlotte in their most recent game on Wednesday night. In the all-time regular season series between the teams, the Celtics own a 263-194 advantage though the 76ers have won eight of the last 10 meetings. The teams have split two meetings this season with the 76ers earning a 108-103 road win in the most recent matchup on December 20, 2021.
Boston Celtics Searching for Fourth Straight WinBoston ran their win streak to three games as they swept the Pacers in a home-and-home set by rolling to the win Wednesday night on the road. The Celtics entered Thursday tied for fourth in the Atlantic Division, six games behind the Nets for the top spot in the division race. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the team is 10th, three games behind the Cavaliers for the final guaranteed playoff spot and ahead of the 11th-seeded Knicks for the final spot in the play-in tournament based on better conference record. Against Indiana, the Celtics led by 10 after the opening quarter and saw their lead trimmed to five at the half. Boston reeled off an 8-0 run to start the second half, pushing their lead to 13, and didn’t let Indiana closer than nine after that. The Celtics shot 51.3% from the floor, including 18 of 38 from three-point range, and held the Pacers to 46.5% from the field. Jaylen Brown led Boston with 34 points in the win.
For the season, the Celtics are 19th in the league in scoring offense with an average of 107.8 points per game. Boston is 9th in the league in rebounding with 45.7 boards per contest while they stand 24th in assists by handing out 22.6 assists per game. The Celtics are 10th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 105.8 points per contest. Jaylen Brown is second on the team with an average of 24.5 points plus 6.6 rebounds per contest. Jayson Tatum contributes 25.7 points plus 8.4 rebounds per contest, Robert Williams III chips in 9.8 points, nine rebounds plus 2.2 blocks a night and Josh Richardson adds 10.4 points per game. Al Horford (10.8 points, 7.5 rebounds) and Grant Williams (7.1 points) are other frontcourt options. Dennis Schroder (16.1 points, 4.5 assists), Romeo Langford, Marcus Smart (11.6 points, 5.3 assists), Juancho Hernangomez, Payton Pritchard, Aaron Nesmith and Enes Freedom are other key rotation pieces for Ume Idoka. Boston is 23rd in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 44.5% from the floor this season. The Celtics are 12th in the league in threes per game as they hit 12.2 per contest while they are 22nd in three-point field goal percentage by shooting 33.9% from beyond the arc. Smart (thigh) is doubtful here after missing Wednesday’s contest.
Philadelphia 76ers Try to Bounce BackPhiladelphia had won seven straight games but was upended at home by Charlotte Wednesday, snapping their 16-game win streak over the Hornets in the process. The 76ers entered Thursday second in the Atlantic Division, three games behind the Nets for the top spot. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, they were fifth, one game ahead of Charlotte for a guaranteed playoff spot and four games clear of 11th-place New York to remain at least in the play-in tournament field. Against Charlotte, Philadelphia led by one after the opening quarter only to be outscored 30-15 in the second quarter to trail by 14 at the half. The 76ers couldn’t get closer than six the rest of the way as they took the loss. Philadelphia shot 46.6% from the field, including 12 of 30 from three-point range, and allowed Charlotte to shoot 51.7% in the game. Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 31 points and six rebounds in the loss.
On the year, the 76ers are 22nd in the league in scoring offense with 107.2 points per game. The 76ers are 30th in rebounding as they collect 42.1 rebounds per contest while they are 21st in assists by dishing out an average of 22.8 dimes a night. Philadelphia is 9th in the league in scoring defense as they allow an average of 105.7 points a contest. Joel Embiid leads the 76ers as he puts up 27.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per contest this season. Seth Curry contributes 16.2 points a night, Tobias Harris chips in 18.4 points plus 7.5 rebounds per game while Tyrese Maxey adds 16.6 points plus 4.4 assists per contest. Furkan Korkmaz kicks in 9.1 points a night. Georges Niang (9.9 points), Shake Milton (10.5 points), Danny Green, Andre Drummond, Matisse Thybulle, Isaiah Joe and Paul Reed are key pieces of the rotation for coach Doc Rivers. Philadelphia is 12th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 46.1% from the floor as a team this season. The 76ers are 28th in threes per game as they drain 11.2 triples a contest while they are 12th in three-point shooting by connecting on 35.4% of their attempts from beyond the arc. Ben Simmons (back/mental mindset) remains out for the 76ers. Milton (back) has missed the last few games and his status needs to be monitored.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Both teams have had their issues with consistency this season. They are remarkably similar when you look at the numbers as each team is below average in the scoring offense department and above-average defensively this season. With that said, both teams are relatively healthy at this stage of things as most of the stars on both sides are back on the floor here. Philadelphia has struggled at home, which is a bit disconcerting given their home and road splits in recent seasons. The Celtics put up big numbers in their win over Indiana but they have their work cut out for them here. Most importantly, Boston doesn’t have the big man to contain Embiid. Look for the 76ers to take advantage of that situation and get the win here.
Full-Game Total Pick
Boston has seen the under go 23-18-1 in their 42 games on the year. The Celtics are just 25th in tempo with 96.5 possessions a night this season. They’ve stayed under the total in three of their last five games entering this one. Philadelphia has seen the under post a 23-15-2 mark in their 40 contests this season entering this game. The 76ers play at the fourth-slowest pace in the league as they average 96.1 possessions a night on the season. Philadelphia has stayed under the total in each of their last three games and seven of the last 10 matchups between these teams have fallen short of the mark. Look for this one to follow suit.