Philadelphia 76ers (54-28) at Boston Celtics (57-25)
Game Info: Monday, May 1, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. EST (TD Garden)
Betting Odds: Celtics (-9) / Over/Under (213.5)
Pick: Celtics (-9)
As the Second Round of the NBA Playoffs begins to make its rounds around the league, we will head out to TD Garden to take a look at Game 1 between the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics.
Philadelphia will most likely have to be without Joel Embiid for this one, with him currently listed as doubtful to give it a go. Although he was able to get a few days of extra rest as the Hawks were able to keep the Celtics in the series for a Game 6, it doesn't seem as if he has been practicing, indicating that he will be sidelined for the first bout. If the superstar center does end up being out, the 76ers will rely on the likes of James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris to carry the load on the offensive end. The last of whom has been under the spotlight in years past for delivering underwhelming performances in the Playoffs. Despite that, in Game 5 against the Brooklyn Nets in the First Round, he scored 25 points on 57.9% shooting and 50% from the 3-point line to close the Nets' hopes out of extending the series one more game. Having scored 20+ points in 3 of his 4 Playoff games played, can he stretch that out to 4 of 5 to keep the 76ers in striking distance in Boston?
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Boston was fortunate enough to not have to experience any significant injuries in their First Round matchup with the Atlanta Hawks like Philly did, but they were pushed to the limit in the 6 game series. Moving forward, I expect Head Coach Joe Mazzulla to put a priority on shoring things up on the defensive end to give his offensive a bit of leeway on offense to not have to score in the upper 120s every night. Furthermore, he will not like how his team had the opportunity to close the series out at home in 5 games but fell short as big favorites, forcing them to go on the road and scrap a win out in the 4th quarter inside of State Farm Arena. Against a much tougher opposition in the 76ers, we shall see if Mazzulla and his staff can deliver the goods and send the Celtics into another Eastern Conference Finals.
Betting trends to consider in this matchup:
- The Celtics are 35-23 ATS in Conference games
- Boston is 26-18 ATS as the home team
- The over is 3-1 when the 76ers are getting 4+ days of rest
With Embiid listed as doubtful, this gives the Celtics a prime position to pounce first while the 76ers are shorthanded without their biggest weapon. Certainly, the number is big for them to cover, but I expect them to get there through a huge second half that is backed by the raucous Boston crowd. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will score 60+ points combined once again, and when that happens the Celtics seem to never lose. Give me Boston to take the commanding 1-0 series lead impressively!
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