Philadelphia 76ers vs Boston Celtics (2/8 @ 7:30 PM EST)
Spread: Celtics -4.5
Money Line: Sixers +115 / Celtics -189
Overview and Betting Info
The Philadelphia 76ers (34-18) will head to Boston to take on the Celtics (38-16) in a battle between two of the East’s top teams. They met in their first game of the season, with Boston winning 126-117. Boston currently leads the East, with the Sixers three games back in third place.
The Sixers are 29-21-1 against the spread this season and have covered three of their last four games. They’ve gone over the total 31 times and have done so in four of their last six.
The Celtics are 27-26-0 versus the spread but have covered just one of their last eight games. They’ve gone over the total 25 times, including in three of their last four.
The Sixers have been one of the league’s hottest teams in 2023, going 13-4 since the new year. As well as they played, two of those four losses came in their last four games. They were both bad losses, with one coming at home to the Magic and the other a 21-point blown lead against the Knicks. They are fourteenth in scoring (114.6 PPG), seventh in field goal percentage (48.2%), and fourth in three-point percentage (38.5%). The Sixers’ defense has been fantastic, and they are fourth in opponent scoring (110.9 PPG) and ninth in steals (8.0 SPG). They defend against the three better than anyone else in the league, leading by allowing just 34.2%. Philadelphia is 14-10 on the road this season.
The Sixers are led by a trio of stars in Joel Embiid (33.4 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.6 BPG), James Harden (21.0 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 10.9 APG, 1.2 SPG), and Tyrese Maxey (20.1 PPG, 3.7 APG). Embiid is leading the league in scoring and ranking fifth in blocks. As good as he’s been, he’s averaging just 23 points against the Celtics in their last three meetings. Harden’s scoring has been down over their last five games, averaging 17.6 points. While his scoring has been missed, he has been the team’s top distributor and rebounded well. Though Harden’s scoring is down, he is taking smart shots resulting in a 44.7% field goal percentage and 38.8% three-point percentage. He was fantastic against Boston in the season opener, going for 35 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. Maxey is one of the team’s best shooters, making 45.4% from the field and 39.2% from three. His scoring has been trending down, averaging 18.9 points in January and 15.7 points so far in February. Maxey had 21 points against Boston to begin the season.
Philadelphia’s top trio is supported by Tobias Harris (16.1 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 50.6 FG%) and De’Anthony Melton (11.0 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.8 SPG). Harris is a solid scorer and one of the Sixer’s most reliable shooters. Milton has been a crucial part of this team and played well when they struggled with injuries. His scoring was way down in most of January, but he’s now back to averaging 11 points in his last seven games. He is also an aggressive defender, averaging 1.6 steals during that span. Watch out for Shake Milton (9.8 PPG, 3.2 APG), as the guard averages 14.5 points in his four games against Boston.
The Celtics beat Detroit on Monday but had won just two of their previous six games. They’ve lost to Orlando, Miami, New York, and Phoenix during that span. The skid has caused their East lead to diminish to just one game on the second-place Bucks. Boston is third in scoring (117.6 PPG), eighth in three-point percentage (37.1%), seventh in assists (26.2 APG), and fifteenth in field goal percentage (47.3%). Their defense is the sixth in opponent scoring (111.6 PPG) and fifth in opponent field goal percentage. They are fourth in blocks but rank twenty-ninth in steals (6.3 SPG). Boston is 20-7 at home this season.
The Celtics are led by a pair of All-Stars in Jayson Tatum (30.9 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 4.5 APG 1.0 SPG) and Jaylen Brown (27.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.1 SPG). Tatum is fourth in the NBA in scoring and has surpassed 30 points in four of their last five games, culminating in a 34-points and 11-rebound performance on Monday. He was fantastic against Philly to open the season, scoring 35 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Brown is questionable to play on Wednesday after missing Monday with a non-COVID illness. He has made over 58% of his shots in his last two games against the Celtics, highlighted by a 35-point performance in the season-opener.
With Marcus Smart still injured, the Celtics will turn to Derrick White (10.8 PPG) and Malcolm Brogdon (14.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG) again. Brogdon is the best sixth-man in the league and is the Celtics’ top three-point shooter (45.0% 3PT). The guard is also effective on defense, with three blocks and four steals in his last four games. White has exploded since Smart went out, averaging 18 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and a making 43% of his threes over the last six games. White was awful against Philly to begin the year, making just one shot for two points. Look for Robert Williams III (8.6 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 77.2% FG) to play a significant role against Embiid. He is averaging 12.3 points and 10.3 rebounds to go with four blocks in February.