Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

WSN Picks: Boston Celtics to defeat Philadelphia 76ers.

How to Watch

What: Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

When: Thursday, 9 January 2020, 7:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): TNT, NBC Sports Philadelphia | WROR 105.7, 97.5 The Fanatic

Boston Celtics (Away)

Head Coach: Brad Stevens {All-Time 295-231 | BOS}

Season Record: 25-9

Projected Starting Five: (G) Kemba Walker – (G) Marcus Smart – (F) Jaylen Brown – (F) Jayson Tatum – (C) Daniel Theis

Top Performers

  • (G) Kemba Walker – 32.3 MPG | 22.5 PPG | 5.2 APG | 3.9 RPG
  • (F) Jayson Tatum – 34.2 MPG | 21.1 PPG | 6.9 RPG | .363 3P%
  • (F) Jaylen Brown – 33.6 MPG | 20.7 PPG | 7.2 RPG | .395 3P%

The Boston Celtics sit at second in the Eastern Conference, with the Miami Heat right on their tail with both a win and a loss on them. The Celtics are one of the elite teams in the East but have struggled when away from home.

The Celtics’ loss to the Washington Wizards was telling. As talented as they are, they have issues in depth that can’t be made up for when their opponent is rolling. Despite their efforts, Boston couldn’t shoot the ball well enough to take the game.

When the Celtics face off with the Philadelphia 76ers, they should have Kemba Walker back in their lineup. While unbalanced, the Sixers’ defense is just the thing that could cause Boston real problems.

Check out also the latest NBA Power Rankings.

Philadelphia 76ers (Home)

Head Coach: Brett Brown {All-Time 202-328 | PHI}

Projected Starting Five: (G) Ben Simmons – (G) Josh Richardson – (F) Tobias Harris – (F) Mike Scott – (C) Joel Embiid

Season Record: 24-14

Top Performers

  • (C) Joel Embiid – 31.1 MPG | 23.4 PPG | 12.3 RPG | 1.4 BPG
  • (F) Tobias Harris – 33.9 MPG | 19.4 PPG | 6.5 RPG | .358 3P%
  • (G) Josh Richardson – 32.0 MPG | 15.0 PPG | 3.3 RPG | 3.5 APG

The Philadelphia 76ers continue to attempt their slow climb back to the top of the Eastern Conference. They were able to break their recent losing skid, but now face a difficult climb back up the rankings.

The Sixers broke their losing streak with a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. After Joel Embiid left the game, the combined efforts of Josh Richardson, Al Horford, Tobias Harris, and Ben Simmons powered them through.

The Sixers face off with one of the East’s elite in the Boston Celtics. They’ve taken command of the season series, but will be a man down when this matchup rolls around.

What’s at Stake?

The Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers have met 300 times in the history of their regular season rivalry. In those 300 games, the Celtics lead the Sixers 177-123.

A win for the Boston Celtics would maintain their place at second in the Eastern Conference.

A win for he Phiadelphia 76ers would bring them level with the Toronto Raptors who are fourth in the Eastern Conference.

Questions to Answer

How can the Celtics put it all together?

Can the Sixers survive without their star?

We are going to compare the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

Can the Celtics Improve at the Rim?

Against the Washington Wizards, the Boston Celtics didn’t look themselves. Not only did they struggle to convert from deep, the Celtics failed to compensate by converting at the rim.

In their 99-94 loss to the Wizards, the Celtics shot a measly 34.7% from the field to go with their 21.6% shooting percentage from three. Jayson Tatum in particular has shown struggles when battling with opponents in the paint.

Tatum has a slight frame, but he has the skill to convert when he needs to. The Celtics are so perimeter-oriented, that they sometimes forget to feed their more capable painter players like Kanter and Theis. With Embiid out in this match, it will be crucial to dominate on the inside.

How Will the Sixers Look Without Embiid?

Joel Embiid hasn’t been the player that he was last season. However he is still the most talented person on the Philadelphia 76ers roster. The show will be run by Ben Simmons this time out, as Embiid is recovering from his finger injury.

This is very much what NBA critics have been hoping to see. A Sixers team led by one of their two mercurial stars. For all of their talent, the Sixers’ roster balance is poor. As Simmons, a non-shooting guard, is limiting their spacing opportunities with Embiid on the court.

The Sixers are averaging only 29.9 three-point attempts per game, despite their 36.2% conversion rate. They will have Matisse Thybulle back on the court, but the operation will be solely the responsibility of Simmons.

The Celtics Must Find Their Shooting Rhythm

The Boston Celtics are a more than capable shooting team. While they are lacking overall, they have at least five regular rotation players that convert from deep at the league average rate or better.

In their match against the Washington Wizards, the Boston Celtics were absolutely frigid from deep. On 37 attempts from three-point range, the Celtics converted on only eight. Worryingly, their starting five, which consists of three plus-35% three-point shooters, went 7-29.

Brad Stevens’ offence manufactures a lot of opportunities for the Celtics. With Kemba Walker back, he is likely to draw defenders to create even more opportunities. But to defeat the Sixers, they have to convert at a drastically better rate.

Can the Sixers’ Role Players Step Up?

All eyes are on the Sixers supporting cast when they face off with the Celtics. While Simmons will be the maestro, it will be the supporting pieces that will have the pressure on them to convert.

Al Horford, Josh Richardson, and Tobias Harris all bring something different to the game. While Harris is the most talented scorer of the three, Richardson and Horford provide two-way play that will be crucial to their success. The trio were 7-12 from deep in their last game, hopefully a sign of what’s to come.

Philly will also have the services of Matisse Thybulle back. The three-and-D rookie was sorely missed throughout his injury absence. Another body is always welcome, but Thybulle may be the difference maker they need off the bench.

Boston Celtics Roster Notes

(C) Vincent Poirer – 18 Dec 2019 – Out (Finger) – The Celtics announced that Poirier will miss at least four-to-six weeks with a fractured right pinkie finger.

(G) Romeo Langford – 7 Jan 2020 – Out (Illness) – The Celtics have listed Langford as OUT for Wednesday’s game (Jan. 8) against the Spurs.

(C) Robert Williams – 2 Jan 2020 – Out (Hip) – Williams is slated to have an MRI in another week or two on his hip, according to Brian Robb of the Boston Sports Journal. There is no timetable for his return.

Philadelphia 76ers Roster Notes

(C) Joel Embiid – 8 Jan 2019 – Out (Finger) – Embiid is not expected to play after suffering a dislocated finger.

Head-to-Head: (G) Marcus Smart vs (G) Ben Simmons

We’ll be seeing a lot of this matchup when the Celtics and the Sixers face off. With Embiid expected to be out, the offense will run through Simmons. It will be up to Marcus Smart to slow down the talented Australian.

(G) Marcus Smart (6-3, 227lb (190cm, 102kg) | Oklahoma State | 5 Years)

Season Age Team Games MP PTS REB AST FG% 3P%
19-20 25 BOS 25 31.7 11.4 3.3 4.7 .363 .314

Marcus Smart is having the best offensive season of his career. Unfortunately, it is occurring on some horrendous shooting. In his last two games, Smart has shot 6-24 from the field

Worryingly, Smart has also failed in his primary defensive assignments. Ish Smith and Demar Derozan scored a combined 57 points in the last two losses where Smart was the primary defender. He’ll be up against Simmons, who is of a different style, but integral to the Sixers offense.

(G) Ben Simmons (6-10, 230lb (208cm, 104kg) | LSU/Australia | 2 Years)

Season Age Team Games MP PTS REB AST FG% 3P%
19-20 23 PHI 36 35.4 14.9 7.5 8.6 .563 .400

It isn’t that Ben Simmons is having a poor season. In fact, he is quite capable. But teams are figuring him out. For all of his abilities, Simmons has been a poor fit with Embiid at his side this year.

We’ll get to see the full Simmons show as Simmons does not have Embiid in support of him against the Celtics. Simmons averages 9.3 assists in wins and 7.2 assists in losses. His ability to get his teammates involved will be crucial, considering they won’t have Embiid to feed in the post.

Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Predictions

Why the Boston Celtics Will Win

The Celtics define their game through tough defense and organized offensive execution. That is how they will defeat the Sixers. They were able to score against the Spurs but failed to stop their opponents from scoring on them.

Why the Philadelphia 76ers Will Win

The Sixers have offensive firepower for days. If they want to take down the Celtics, they will need to manufacture good offensive opportunities despite lacking their most dangerous weapon – Joel Embiid.

WSN’s Pick

The Boston Celtics haven’t been able to piece it together in their last two losses. With a full game of Kemba Walker and the Sixers lacking Joel Embiid, the odds are in the favor of the Celtics.

WSN Picks: Boston Celtics to defeat Philadelphia 76ers.

Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers Odds

The latest odds for the Celtics vs 76ers are provided by Unibet NJ, DraftKings Sportsbook, and 888Sport NJ.

Money Line

Sportsbook Celtics 76ers
Unibet NJ +114 -136
DraftKings +115 -136
888Sport NJ +114 -136

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