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76ers vs Celtics Game 1: The Process Moves On to the Next Round

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NBA Basketball

Apr 30, 2018 · 10:28 AM PDT

Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid and the 76ers are in Boston to kick off the NBA regular season. Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC License]
  • Upstart 76ers reaping the benefits of the process
  • Do the undermanned Celtics stand a chance?
  • Are Embiid, Simmons ready for prime time?

Two of the NBA’s blue-blood franchises will clash in the Eastern Conference semifinal starting Monday in Boston, as the Celtics host Game 1 of their best-of-seven series with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Boston has home court advantage by virtue of their second place finish in the East, but they’d hardly be considered favorites. The 76ers have emerged as the most talented team in the conference, and they’re led by a pair of 20-somethings, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Simmons hasn’t looked out of place for one minute, and a rugged Miami Heat squad did everything they could to throw him off his game. Didn’t work. He dusted Miami en route to averaging 18 points, 10.6 rebounds and 9.0 assists over five games. He was a beast.

Ditto Joel Embiid, who joined the party late, as his orbital bone fracture healed. But the masked one was a sheer force of nature, and might be the most confident player in the entire league – with the talent to back it up.

As for the Celtics, it was all hands on deck to dispatch the Bucks in seven games, and they were led by the calming influence of big man Al Horford, who did a little of everything in Saturday’s clincher.

The emergence of Terry Rozier has been a huge help. Filling the role of the injured Kyrie Irving, Rozier put 17.6 points and 6.7 assists while shooting over 38% from beyond the arc in the opening round.

Philadelphia 76ers vs Boston Celtics Team Stats

OFFENSE

76ers
VS
Celtics
109.6 Offensive Rating 106.1
114.2 Points 102.4
26.6 Assists 21.6
44.9 Field-Goal Percentage 44.3
34.6 Three-Point Percentage 35.0
+10.8 Plus/Minus +0.6

*Through First Round of NBA Playoffs

DEFENSE

76ers
VS
Celtics
101.6 Defensive Rating 107.7
103.4 Points 101.9
+9.0 Rebounding Differential +3.6
0.0 Turnover Differential 0.0
44.2 Field-Goal Percentage 50.0
39.1 Three-Point Percentage 37.2
45.6 Points In The Paint 44.0

*Through First Round of NBA Playoffs

Jaylen Brown
Jaylen Brown is a question mark heading into Game 1 against the 76ers. Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr) CC License

Head-to-Head Results – Regular Season

Date Location Score Winner
Jan. 18 BOS 89-80 PHI
Jan. 11 PHI 114-103 BOS
Nov. 30 BOS 108-97 BOS
Oct. 20 PHI 102-92 BOS

Notable Injuries and Absences

76ers Celtics
No injuries Jaylen Brown (hamstring): DAY-TO-DAY

 Straight Up Advice: 76ers (117-99)

There is real mystique playing in the Garden against the Celtics, but it won’t count for much here. The 76ers are the real deal. They come into this series as the top scoring team in the playoffs, pumping in over 114 points a game. For context, no one else is over 109.

They are averaging an NBA-playoff best 50 rebounds a game, including a league-best 13.2 per game on the offensive glass. And while they’re just in the middle of the pack in field goal percentage, they are making up the difference at the free throw line, where they average 31.8 attempts per game, tops in the playoffs.

Even with a raucous crowd, and inspiring Celtic performances on the TD Garden floor, watch for Simmons and Embiid to dominate, en route to a win, in what could be a very short series.

Boston does have one of the elite defenses in the league, and they are fourth overall in these playoffs. But they are lacking star power and scoring prowess, averaging just 102.4 points a game. If Jaylen Brown can’t go, there’s more onus on Jayson Tatum to grow into that star role. He’s averaging better than 15 points and five rebounds per game, but shooting it at just 40% from the field and 30% from deep. Still, marvel when Tatum and Simmons go toe-to-toe. That’s the future of the league, right there.

Boston may be able to get some easier buckets in this series, as the 76ers are the most turnover prone team in the playoffs, averaging about 16 a game. The Celtics also allow the fewest offensive rebounds per game, at just 5.6 a contest. Snagging those defensive rebounds will allow Boston to control tempo and bring the pace down to their liking.

But head coach Brad Stevens and the rest of the Celtics brass are going to have their hands full.

Even with a raucous crowd, and inspiring Celtic performances on the TD Garden floor, watch for Simmons and Embiid to dominate, en route to a win, in what could be a very short series.

Team Trends

76ers Celtics
Philadelphia is 24-19 SU on the road Boston is 31-14 SU at home
Philadelphia is 9-1 SU in its last ten games Boston is 5-5 SU in its last ten games
Philadelphia is 15-6 SU as road favorite Boston is 7-1 SU as home underdog
Philadelphia is 34-21-0 ATS after a win Boston is 34-23-1 ATS after a win
Philadelphia is 52-33-2 ATS this season (61.2%) Boston is 55-32-2 ATS this season (63.2%)
Philadelphia is 23-18-2 ATS on the road Boston is 26-17-2 ATS at home 

 

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