The series is expected to be a battle, and it’s looking like it will be since it’s now tied at one apiece. We should see more entertaining back-and-forth as this one goes along.
Catch the game tomorrow 7:30 AM, Manila time.
HOME: Philadelphia 76ers (1-1)
Projected starting five:
- Tyrese Maxey
- James Harden
- Tobias Harris
- PJ Tucker
- Joel Embiid
After boasting a gutsy, 119-115 win in Game 1 despite being shorthanded, the Sixers got smashed in Game 2 by 34 points, 121-87, and that’s with Joel Embiid, by then a freshly minted NBA MVP, finally back in action.
Embiid appeared to be playing very cautiously as he is nursing sprained right knee, and a result, he could only tally 15 points, three rebounds, and three assists across 27 minutes. Now that he has had a couple of more days rest and feel it out, though, we can expect a more active and productive player for Game 3.
That said, it’s not just Embiid who laid an egg. James Harden’s sequel to tying his career playoff-high 45 points in Game 1 was a horrendous 12 points on 2-for-14 shooting, which includes bricking all of his six attempts from downtown. It was rough, but he can’t be that awful again tomorrow.
Tyrese Maxey was a big ‘meh’ as well with 13 points. Surprisingly, it was Tobias Harris, who’s been underwhelming all season, who came out as best out of the bunch. He now has 17 points per game on 53.5% shooting in the series. Let’s see if he can keep it up.
AWAY: Boston Celtics (1-1)
Projected starting five:
- Derrick White
- Marcus Smart
- Jaylen Brown
- Jayson Tatum
- Al Horford
The best part about the Celtics emphatically tying the series is they did it with their main man, Jayson Tatum, being virtually irrelevant for the whole contest. The All-Star was 1-for-7 for seven points in 19 minutes of play. It could be due to the groin injury he potentially suffered in Game 1, but he should be able to redeem himself soon enough as it doesn’t look like he’ll miss any game.
Tatum’s injury also showcased the Celtics’ variety of weapons and its ability to step up. Co-star Jaylen Brown led the way with 25 points, other starters Marcus Smart and Derrick White each added 15, and Sixth Man of the Year Malcolm Brogdon once again rose off the bench to chip in 23 points that featured him going 6-for-10 from beyond the arc. Heck, Grant Williams even joined in, knocking four treys for 12 points while also dishing out four assists and collecting four steals.
Such performances reminds you why they are a finals team from a year ago, and why they’re capable of doing it again. It’s a squad led by two high-scoring wings that just happens to have a patient, team-oriented scheme.
Handicap: The Celtics (-2) win.
Over/Under: The total hits the over (214.5)