Celtics vs. 76ers Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Philadelphia 76ers stole Game 1 of this series agains the Boston Celtics with a stunning performance but laid an egg in Game 2 with newly crowned MVP Joel Embiid back in the lineup. This series heads to Philadelphia tied up at 1-1, but can the 76ers right the ship after an absolute beatdown?
Let’s dive into this series and the nuance behind Embiid’s return to play in the Celtics vs 76ers Game 3 preview.
The Celtics won in dominant fashion Wednesday night and did so despite a 7-point scoring night from Jayson Tatum. He struggled in Game 2 and attempted seven shots in just 19.3 minutes — he was clearly limited by the foul trouble and never got into a rhythm. Regardless, the Celtics’ offense was absolutely humming and they scored an incredible 131.4 points per 100 possessions (in non-garbage time), per Cleaning the Glass.
The Celtics could not miss from 3-point range and outscored the Sixers by 42 points from deep. While the Sixers are not a team that thrives from 3-point range, this disparity was far greater than the norm.
One of the players who Boston gave minutes to last game specifically against Embiid was Grant Williams. He played just four minutes in Game 1 but 29 in Game 2. His minutes have been solid against Joel Embiid and he has played 29, 29, 29, 39, 24 minutes in each game against the 76ers with Embiid this season. His size and physicality is useful when trying to defend Embiid and his ability to stretch the floor takes Joel out of the paint.
I’m targeting Williams’ 3s prop in tonight’s game: He has made at least two in five of his past six against Embiid
The 76ers have listed Embiid as questionable for tonight’s game with his knee injury, but given his Game 2 return this seems like more of a formality. Embiid’s return did not go as he hoped and the team struggled to find a rhythm; however, he actually moved pretty well when he was on the floor. He played 27 minutes, got to the free throw line eight times and tallied five blocks. The shots were there for him as well and Boston showed plenty of help against him both early and late at times which lead to 3 turnovers in his 27 minutes.
The 76ers’ offense overall could not buy a bucket against Boston. They did not take many 3s to begin with but their eFG% was just 41.0% and they scored 92.9 points per 100 possessions and the game got out of hand rapidly. Despite this, there’s some room for this to regulate back to the norm, and Philly should expect a better performance from their role players in their return home.
The one way the Sixers saw success in Game 2 was with fluid ball movement — this made it much more difficult to help on Embiid and with the offense flowing the team was able to knock down open looks. Some of this is a better counter to the Celtics’ ability to switch everything because it can get them into a rotation and create open looks or mismatches that the pick-and-roll may not be able to create as organically. I expect Philadelphia to make this an emphasis in this game.
The 76ers have been incredible at home this season going 26-16-1 ATS (31-12 SU) including 4-1 (3-2 SU) as a home dog; however, that one ATS loss as a home dog was to Boston. Regardless, this is a good spot to back Philadelphia in their return home.
Embiid showed he had value and could play lengthy minutes in his return, and if there was not a blowout I’d have expected to see minutes in the 30s. If he’s able to play, he is the most dominant player on the floor.
I do not have these teams so far apart (even with the injury), that Philadelphia should be a home underdog in this spot and I’ll take the points in a game where both of these offenses should regulate to the mean.
Pick: Sixers +2.5