Philadelphia 76ers vs Boston Celtics: Predictions and Odds

How to Watch

Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA

When: 5:30 PM EST, 25 December 2018

How (TV/Radio): ABC-ESPN Simulcast | 97.5 The Fanatic and 98.5 The Sports Hub

Philadelphia 76ers

Head Coach: Brett Brown {All-Time 148-295 | PHI}

The Philadelphia 76ers have come a long way since coach Brett Brown took the head coaching position after previously acting as an assistant for the Spurs. At third in the East, tied with Indiana, the Sixers are just 3.5 games back of the first place Raptors.

The Sixers are in the midst of an Atlantic division mini-trip as they take on the Knicks, Raptors, and Celtics consecutively. While they’ve been successful as of late, 6-4 in their last ten, they’ve shown inconsistency as they’ve posted losses to the Cavaliers and Nets respectively.

Christmas is never an easy day for NBA teams to play.Seeing as this is the beginning of a five-game road trip that will keep them away from home until the new year, Philly will want to get off on the right foot against a conference rival.

Boston Celtics

Head Coach: Brad Stevens {All-Time 239-201 | BOS}

The Celtics are currently sitting fifth in the Eastern Conference. Much further back than they wanted to be at the beginning of the season, but many steps closer to where they wanted to be after a disappointing start.

The Celtics have been successful as of late, going 7-3 in their last ten but lost three in a row to the Pistons, Suns, and Bucks. The Celtics, to this point in the season, have not looked like the Eastern Conference contenders they were at the end of last season.

Theoretically, the Celtics have the advantage when it comes to depth. Two players that could start on most other NBA teams in Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward, now come off the bench for the purpose of balance. If the Celtics’ second unit can take advantage, it may be a quick night for the Celtics.

What’s At Stake?

The Boston Celtics versus the Philadelphia 76ers is a classic NBA Eastern Conference matchup. In 295 regular season matches, the Boston Celtics lead the all-time series 175-120.

The Celtics are currently fifth in the Eastern Conference. With a win over the Philadelphia 76ers, they would be just two games back from taking their fourth seed in the East.

If the Sixers win this match, they would overtake the Indiana Pacers who are third in the Eastern Conference and reestablish themselves in the chase for first in the East.

Questions to answer

Can the Sixers take care of the ball?

Can the Celtics stay strong inside?

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

The Sixers are 28th in turnovers

The Philadelphia 76ers do not take care of the ball. Blame it on youthful exuberance as much as you’d like, the Sixers do not handle pressure well. With a lack of shooters at every position, playmakers have difficulty releasing to a capable outlet when pressured in the half-court.

It should also be noted that Joel Embiid has been used as a spacer more than ever before. So far he’s attempted 127 three-pointers this season and has converted on only 27% of them. A capable post threat, it’s a wonder why the Sixers don’t let the play run through Embiid in the post more.

If the Sixers want to win this match, they need to take care of the ball. The Celtics sport some ballhawks on their roster, averaging 8.7 steals per game and forcing 15.8 turnovers per game. Finding the right pressure release will be key for the Sixers success.

Baynes and Horford are out, the Celtics are 18th in Rebounding

With the Celtics primary rebounds out of the lineup due to injury, Horford and Baynes, the Celtics are likely to struggle even more on the glass. While the Celtics are 18th in rebounds per game, they are also in the top ten allowing opponents rebounds per game.

Embiid and Simmons are an incredible rebounding pair. Add to those two the ever energetic Jimmy Butler, it’s hard to see the Sixers losing the battle on the glass.

It will have to come down to a Toronto Raptors-style gang-rebounding mentality for the Celtics if they want to come up against the Sixers. Seeing as the Sixers want to push the pace, limiting their second chance opportunities will be key to slowing the Sixers offence.

Philadelphia 76ers Roster Notes

G Markelle Fultz (shoulder) is out indefinitely.

C Justin Patton (foot) fully expects to return before the end of the season, but there is yet to be a timetable in place.

G Zhaire Smith (foot) is making progress and running again, he’s not slated to return until at least January.

Boston Celtics Roster Notes

C Aron Baynes (hand) has a broken hand and there is no timetable for his return.

G Jabari Bird (personal) is still on indefinite leave as he takes care of legal issues.

C Al Horford (knee) was left out against the Bucks on Friday and will be a game time decision against the Sixers.

F Marcu Morris (knee) was left out against the Bucks and will be a game time decision against the Sixers.

Head-to-Head: Ben Simmons vs Kyrie Irving

Ben Simmons

15.8 PPG | 7.9 APG | 9.1 RPG | 1.4 SPG | 0.8 BPG | 3.3 TOV | .576 FG% | .000 3P%

Kyrie Irving

22.9 PPG | 6.4 APG | 4.8 RPG | 1.8 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 2.7 TOV | .483 FG% | .404 3P%

Two Australians, Simmons and Irving are two modern NBA point guards that complete their responsibilities in totally different ways. Simmons, a point guard in a power forwards body, uses his tremendous control and size to out-body defenders. Meanwhile Irving is a slick-handling point with range from anywhere on the court.

It will be unlikely we see these two matched up, but if Simmons has anything it is that he is not shy posting up. Considering Simmons has scored 72% of his made field goals within two feet, he always entertains the thought of taking his man off the dribble or attacking from the post.

Irving is a threat from absolutely anywhere on the basketball court. While his shots within the arc are almost primarily self-manufactured, Irving’s 63% assisted field goal rate from three shows he’s a dangerous spot-up threat and team player. Irving doesn’t have to do it all, but when he needs to the Celtics can’t be in better hands.

Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Boston Celtics favoured over the Philadelphia 76ers by 4, with an over/under of 108.