The daily preview it to the rim with NBA tips as in-form Eastern Conference rivals Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics complete their regular season series.
11:30 (AEDT), Wed 16th Feb @ Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
History: Played 467: Celtics 325 V 76ers 242
Last meeting: January 14, 2022: 76ers 111 d Celtics 99 at Wells Fargo Center
Final Thoughts: Philadelphia 76ers have been backed into $7.50 for the Championship following the blockbuster trade that ended the Ben Simmons stand-off and delivered James Harden to the City of Brotherly Love. Paul Millsap also joins the Sixers, while Seth Curry and Andre Drummond are now with the Nets.
But Harden is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury. Millsap has played only a bit-part role at the Nets and hasn’t taken the court in a month, but the 37-year-old is expected to be available to begin his depth role today.
The 34-22 Sixers are fourth in the East and still a chance at the top seed. After a rocky start to February they have won three of their last four – a run bookended by 40-point performances by MVP favourite Joel Embiid in victories over the Bulls and Cavaliers. The big man added 14 rebounds and 10 assists for an outrageous triple-double against the Cavs.
The 33-25 Boston Celtics have climbed to sixth in the East courtesy of an eight-game winning streak. After down the Nuggets 108-102, they put away the Hawks 105-95 two days ago after trailing by 10 at halftime. Jayson Tatum went off for 38 points and 10 rebounds, with Jaylen Brown (17 pts, 9 reb), Marcus Smart (13 pts, 7 ast) and big man Robert Williams (10 pts, 14 ast) providing solid support.
The Celtics’ offence wasn’t pretty in either game but their defence has been the league’s best in recent weeks. They’ve conceded more than 97 points just three times (and not more than 108) in their last 11 games.
The 76ers have won nine of their last 11 regular-season matches between the teams (the Celtics also swept a First Round playoffs series during that time). The Celtics snared an 88-87 home win in early-December, but the Sixers bounced back with a 108-103 victory later that month in Boston and a 111-99 success in Philadelphia in January. Embiid averaged 26.3 points, 13.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists across the three games. Tatum averaged 21 points, 12 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
Philadelphia held Boston to under a point per possession over those three encounters.
The 76ers are 16-12 at home (11-17 ATS), winning six of their last eight at Wells Fargo Center. The Celtics are just 13-15 on the road (15-12-1) but have won their last four away.
The Celtics are $1.66 favourites heading into this blockbuster. Their suffocating defence is hard to ignore, but I’ll be backing one-man wrecking crew Embiid and his well-balanced support cast to get it done at home. The under (with a total line of 211.5) also looks a sharp option.
Best Bet: Result – 76ers @ $2.23