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

How to Watch

What: Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers

Where: Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA

When: Wednesday, March 20th at 7:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): ESPN, NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Boston | ESPNR, 98.5 The Sports Hub, 97.5 The Fanatic

Boston Celtics (Away)

Head Coach: Brad Stevens {All-Time 264-216 | BOS}

The Boston Celtics have been making their play for the top four of the Eastern Conference but have also hit their own share of bumps in the road. With a record of 43-27, the Celtics now sit at fifth in the Eastern Conference. Boston is just a game behind the Indiana Pacers for fourth in the East.

Boston has been able to regain some form in recent games. After a difficult February, the Boston Celtics are 6-2 in March and 6-4 in their last ten games overall. They returned from a four-game Western Conference road trip with a 3-1 record and carried that form into their recent homestand.

The Boston Celtics face off against a dangerous Philadelphia 76ers team. They are capable of range and have individual offensive weapons that can take advantage when the play breaks down. The Boston Celtics’ defense has improved but will have to be in top form to slow down the Sixers.

Philadelphia 76ers (Home)

Head Coach: Brett Brown {All-Time 172-308 | PHI}

The Philadelphia 76ers have been taking advantage of their recent schedule. After sitting in fourth for more than a month, the Sixers now own a 45-25 record and third in the Eastern Conference. To top it off the Sixers have now clinched the playoffs. Things are looking up in Philadelphia.

Philly’s surge in the standings coincides with a renewed focus over their recent games. In their last ten games, the Sixers are 7-3 with impressive wins over the Bucks, Kings, and Pacers. Their match against the Celtics will be their last before they play seven of their next nine on the road.

It’s no secret that the Sixers have pushed for a top three position in the East in order to avoid the Boston Celtics in the first round of the Eastern Conference NBA Playoffs. To take down the Celtics the Sixers will need to operate at maximum efficiency. The Sixers don’t run nearly as deep as the Celtics, so when their main five are on the floor they have to be effective.

What’s At Stake?

The Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers have met a number of times in their club history. In 297 regular season matches, the Boston Celtics lead the Philadelphia 76ers 177-120.

A win for the Celtics would bring them within a half-game of the Pacers who are fourth in the Eastern Conference.

A win for the Philadelphia 76ers would separate themselves from the Indiana Pacers who are fourth by 1.5 games.

Questions to answer

Are the Celtics worrying about seeding?

Can Harris get out of his slump?

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

The Celtics Are Fifth In The East

When the NBA Playoffs roll around, matchups are important on offense, defense, and of course the opposing team as a whole. The Celtics’ struggles this season leave them in a precarious situation. They are fifth in the East and are 1.5 games out of the top four.

If the NBA Playoffs were to start today, the Boston Celtics would face off against the Indiana Pacers with home court going to the Pacers in a tough opening series. With 6-8 so unsure, the Celtics are banking on being matched up with a lesser team. But should they?

Dysfunction has ruled the Celtics this season. They are without a doubt, going into the playoffs with more problems than they expected at the beginning of the season. What remains true though, is the fact that the Celtics maintain one of the most talented rosters in the league. They’ve defeated the Sixers before, they will look to do it again and dispose of the narrative of their internal strife.

Tobias Harris Has Struggled

Tobias Harris was brought to Philadelphia in hopes of being the piece that puts them over the edge. He has a singularly impressive ability to score the ball but has struggled to convert on three-point attempts in recent games. It may be an individual slump, but there are some telling signs to his drop in production.

In his last three matches, Harris has averaged 15.3 points on a disappointing 20% from deep. It isn’t promising when you assess the month either, where he has shot only 31% from beyond the arc. Far below his season average of 20.7 points and 42% from three.

Harris’ misfortune certainly isn’t a coincidence with the return of Joel Embiid. Now that the All-Star center has returned, Harris has been forced into the role of the spot-up shooter rather than volume playmaker which was his strength. There is still time to figure it all out and Harris is too talented to stick around 31% for the rest of the season, but strides need to be made soon if the Sixers want to encourage their fan base and the oddsmakers.

Boston Celtics Roster Notes

F Gordon Hayward – 17 Mar 2019 – Day To Day (Concussion) – Hayward is Doubtful for Monday’s (Mar 18) game.

C Al Horford – 17 Mar 2019 – Day To Day (Knee) – Horford is Probable for Monday’s (Mar 18) game.

F Robert Williams – 17 Mar 2019 – Day To Day (Illness) – Williams is Questionable for Monday’s (Mar 18) game.

Philadelphia 76ers Roster Notes

G Furkan Korkmaz – 26 Feb 2019 – Out (Torn Right Meniscus) – The 76ers announced that Korkmaz had surgery on his right knee. He will be re-evaluated in four weeks.

Head-to-Head: Al Horford (BOS) vs Joel Embiid (PHI)

In what is usually the most key matchup when the Sixers and the Celtics meet, Joel Embiid and Al Horford will face off. Al Horford has slowed down in terms of production but he is always a thorn in the side of Embiid when they compete against one another. Embiid will be looking to continue his impressive offensive and defensive contributions.

Al Horford

Center | 6-10, 245lb (208cm, 111kg) | Florida | Exp. 11 Years

12.9 PPG | 4.0 APG | 6.7 RPG | 0.9 SPG | 1.3 BPG | 1.5 TOV | .528 FG% | .348 3P%

Horford’s mobility and defensive awareness have been key in every matchup against Joel Embiid. While he’s not flashy or as nimble as he used to be, Horford has proven to be a solid matchup for the transcendent Cameroonian. He will also need to be effective on the offensive end. His shooting and passing are keys to unlocking the Sixers defenses. Considering the Sixers’ lack of depth, Horford should do his best to take his opponent out of the game.

Joel Embiid

Center | 7-0, 250lb (213cm, 113kg) | Kansas/Cameroon | Exp. 2 Years

27.3 PPG | 3.5 APG | 13.6 RPG | 0.7 SPG | 2.0 BPG | 3.6 TOV | .481 FG% | .290 3P%

Joel Embiid has been playing brilliant basketball as of late. He’s played a diverse game, taking advantage of space and opportunity based on what the defense makes available to him. While his three-point shooting hasn’t been up to standard this season, it didn’t stop him from attempting thirteen in his 40-point performance against the Bucks. He will likely reign in his offense against the Celtics, but the Sixers will surely go to him in the pick-and-roll and the post often.

Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Philadelphia 76ers favored over the Boston Celtics by 3.5, with an over/under of 110.