Bitter Atlantic Division rivals take on each other for the third time this season, as the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers each look to take the upper hand in their regular-season series Saturday morning.
Catch this game live on Saturday, January 15, at 8 AM, Manila time.
Away: Boston Celtics (21-21/8-13 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Marcus Smart (questionable)
- SG: Jaylen Brown
- SF: Jayson Tatum
- PF: Al Horford
- C: Robert Williams
The Celtics are having fun again. Following a forgettable stretch that saw the team lose five times in seven games, Boston has seemingly gotten into rhythm back after going undefeated in its past three outings. The last time they were on the floor, the Celtics defeated the Indiana Pacers on the road Thursday, 119-100. Defense has been a big key for the Celtics’ resurgence. On the season, they are 10th in the NBA with just 105.8 points allowed per game, but they have managed to improve on that of late, limiting opposing teams to only 96.0 points in their last five contests.
Philly knows how capable the Celtics’ defense is, having been limited to just 37.1 FG% and 25.8 3FG% when Boston beat the Sixers at TD Garden back on Dec. 2 of last year. Boston’s defense is also at its best when Marcus Smart is around, though the pesky guard is deemed questionable for Saturday’s meeting with the Sixers due to a thigh injury that caused him to miss the Pacers game. If he can’t go, the Celtics can continue starting Dennis Schroder in his place. Schroder is coming off an excellent 23-point performance against the Pacers as a starter. Boston is 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight games against teams with winning records.
Home: Philadelphia 76ers (23-17/8-9 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Tyrese Maxey
- SG: Seth Curry
- SF: Danny Green
- PF: Tobias Harris
- C: Joel Embiid
Notwithstanding their 109-98 home loss to the Charlotte Hornets last Thursday, the Sixers are one of the hottest teams in the league right now. They started the year with four wins in a row and are 7-1 overall in their last eight games. This is a team that appears to have mastered the art of blocking out the distraction from the Ben Simmons saga and it shows in the Sixers’ recent play. With how Joel Embiid is playing, it becomes a lot easier for the Sixers to forget about Simmons’ absence. Embiid is averaging 27.1 points per game this season on 48.2 FG% while also shooting 38.3 3FG%.
The Cameroonian almost singlehandedly beat the Celtics in the Sixers’ 108-103 road win against Boston on Dec. 21, scoring 41 points on 14/27 shooting with 10 rebounds and four blocks. Seth Curry also chipped in 26 points, while Tobias Harris had 25. The Sixers’ bench should show signs of life this time around, though, as it only produced a point in that contest. The Sixers, whose ball security is among the best in the NBA with just 12.6 turnovers per game, have covered the spread three times in four games after losing at home by at least 10 points.
Spread: Both the Celtics and the Sixers have been peaking of late, and given that their last two meetings only had a total margin of six points, you can expect another close game in their matchup this Saturday. Feeling a cover here for the Celtics (+3).
Over/Under: Boston and Philadelphia have efficient offenses but play at a deliberate pace. Looking at an Under (212.0) hit for the total in this contest.