Celtics vs. 76ers Game 4: Why Philly Can Keep it Close

Action Network contributor Jacob McKenna previews how to bet Celtics vs. 76ers Game 4, including updated odds, picks and predictions for Sunday's game.

Celtics vs. 76ers Odds

Celtics Odds -2
76ers Odds +2
Over/Under 213.5 
Time 3:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers resume their NBA Eastern Conference semifinals series on Sunday in Philadelphia.

Boston dropped Game 1 to a Philadelphia team without Joel Embiid, but Philly bounced back right away with wins in Games 2 and 3. The No.2 seed in the Eastern Conference owns a 2-1 series lead, looking to make it 3-1 before heading back home for Game 5.

The 76ers are now 2-5 against the Celtics this season and 1-2 at the Wells Fargo Center. Will Philadelphia reverse that trend on Sunday, or will Boston jump out to a commanding 2-1 series lead?

Let’s take a look at the matchup and make a betting pick for Game 4 of the Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers series.

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Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics defeated the Atlanta Hawks in six games, but there were moments during that series when Atlanta proved it could keep pace on the offensive end of the floor.

The opposite has been true so far in Round 2 against the 76ers. Boston surprisingly lost Game 1 by four points, but since then has posted a +46 point differential in a dominant display of basketball.

The biggest difference maker early on has been Boston’s 3-point shooting. The Celtics shot 38% or better from behind the arc in each game of the series, while Philadelphia has surpassed 38% once — in Game 1.

Another area where Boston is flourishing is in the paint. Without Joel Embiid in the lineup for Game 1, Boston outscored Philadelphia 66-42 inside. During the last two games, the Celtics have posted a +6 point differential in the paint.

Boston is dominating the perimeter and the interior on the offensive end — a great combination in the postseason.

Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers started the series with a bang, scoring 119 points in Game 1. James Harden led the way with 45 points — tying his playoff-career high — and Tyrese Maxey contributed with 26 points of his own.

However with Embiid back in the lineup, Harden and Maxey began to disappear on the offensive end — a bad sign for Philly’s chances of winning.

Harden has been the worse of the two, averaging 14.0 points since his Game 1 explosion. Perhaps even more alarmingly, Harden is shooting 17.5% overall and 15.4% from behind the arc the last two games, failing to give Philly the offensive power that it had in the regular season.

Maxey is shooting slightly better at 33% overall and 30.8% from 3 in Games 2 and 3, but his 13.0 points per game in that time simply isn’t enough to compete with a deep Boston team. Tobias Harris is the only other 76er outside of Embiid, Harden, and Maxey averaging more than 8.0 points in the last two games.

Celtics-76ers Pick

The last two games have been far from ideal from Philadelphia, but I have a hard time believing that the 76ers can’t turn things around.

Philadelphia was the NBA’s top 3-point shooting team in the regular season at 38.7%; and believe it or not, that efficiency made its way into the postseason. In Philly’s first five postseason games it shot 41.5% from behind the arc — the highest percentage of the 16 playoff teams — and Philadelphia went 5-0 in that stretch.

We saw the 76ers shoot 45% from 3 in Game 1, which proves that Philly can find holes in what is normally a great Boston defense. I expect the shooting slump to end this afternoon, which should enable the 76ers to at least keep things close.

Pick: 76ers +2.5 (-110) or better