For the first time since their first-round playoffs series in the Orlando bubble, the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers are going to meet, albeit in a marquee preseason game. Catch this game live on Wednesday at 8:30 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: Philadelphia 76ers
Under new head coach Doc Rivers and a front office that is now at the helm of Daryl Morey, the 76ers believe that they will be a serious contender for the NBA championship in the upcoming season. The Sixers added more shooters over the offseason to complement their gigantic unicorn in the middle in the form of Joel Embiid.
Last season, the Sixers were the No. 1 post-up team in the NBA, but with the likes of Danny Green and Seth Curry arriving in the City of Brotherly Love, there could be a dramatic shift in terms of how they run their offense, but they can expect less defensive pressure on Embiid down at the post with the improved outside shooting stretch the floor for the Sixers. Having Green also upgrades the Sixers’ perimeter defense.
Green and Matisse Thybulle do not demand the ball as much, while also giving Philly the handcuffs they need to slow down opposing wings and guards. The two will be tested against Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, who were the Sixers’ biggest problem in the last playoffs. Doc Rivers said that he’ll play his key guys in the first half, so we expect Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris to establish the script for Philly.
ROAD TEAM: Boston Celtics
First of all, it’s been reported that Tatum is now 6-foot-10, which, if true, means that he’s grown by two inches from the last time he was officially measured. That’s scary news for the rest of the NBA, which remains clueless as to how to slow down the “smaller” Tatum.
Take for example the Sixers, who saw Tatum average 27.0 points on 48.7 percent shooting from the field when the Celtics eliminated them in the first round of the last playoffs. But Boston fans know more or less what they are going to get from Tatum. What’s more interesting in these preseason games for Boston is how well the newcomers are going to adjust.
We’re talking about Aaron Nesmith, Payton Pritchard, and Yam Madar. Nesmith is regarded as the best shooter from this year’s draft class. Pritchard is coming off a legendary career in Eugene with the Oregon Ducks and is also a deadshot from deep, while Madar has plenty of intrigue around him. The Celtics will also use these preseason games to sort out their frontcourt that gets a dose of energy with the arrival of Tristan Thompson.
Both the Sixers and the Celtics are having great offseasons in terms of player acquisitions. We are expecting this game to be a close one, with the Celtics making better adjustments in the clutch. Boston wins, 97-93.