Philadelphia 76ers (54-28) at Boston Celtics (57-25)
Game Info: Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 8:00 p.m. EST (TD Garden)
Betting Odds: Celtics (-10) / Over/Under (216.5)
Pick: Celtics (-10)
Wednesday night brings us a vital Game 2 between the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics, with the 76ers securing the huge upset in Game 1 to steal home-court advantage.
Whether they would admit it or not, the 76ers would not have loved their chances of taking a game inside TD Garden without their MVP Joel Embiid. Nevertheless, they were able to do so in Game 1 on Monday night by a score of 119-115. Although Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were able to get their own on the offensive end, scoring 62 points combined, James Harden was able to turn back the clock and put in an astounding 45 points on 30-shot attempts to help deliver the blow to the home squad. For the past 2 years, he has transitioned his game to more of a pure point guard playstyle, shooting much less and dishing assists more often, but in Monday's game, he decided against that with the void that Embiid left on offense. With Embiid just announced as out for this one as well, can Harden repeat the performance he put together 2 nights ago to have the 76ers jump to a commanding 2-0 series lead?
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Boston was stunned in the opening matchup with Philly. I am not sure that they were fully prepared for 76ers' James Harden to turn into Rockets' James Harden overnight, but that is surely no excuse for the lackluster showing on their home floor. Heading into Game 2, Head Coach Joe Mazzulla will have to draw up a more decisive gameplan against Harden if he wants to even up the series before heading to Philadelphia for the next 2. Additionally, they will look to jump out to an early lead to get the crowd behind them so that they will not have to stress once again in crunch time. With the Celtics apparently shrinking their bench to a 7-man rotation, will they be able to have the legs to pounce on the 76ers' disadvantaged lineup without Embiid in it once again? Time will tell if the Celtics can demonstrate the form that brought them all the way to the NBA Finals last year.
Betting trends to consider in this matchup:
- The Celtics are 35-24 ATS in Conference games
- The over is 3-1 when the 76ers are getting 4+ days of rest
- Boston is 26-19 ATS as the home team
The 76ers came up with an incredible showing in Game 1, but I just do not see it happening again. It is hard enough to keep things close on the road without your superstar for one game, but to do it twice against one of the Finals' favorites is a lot to ask for. Although I did swing and miss on the Celtics pick in Game 1, I will be heading to the well again for the same pick in this one. Give me the Celtics to comfortably win here in a must-win spot for them!
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