NBA Playoff Odds & Preview — Game 2: Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics
What we saw in Game 1 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference semi-finals may have been a case of one team having more playoff experience than the other, and maybe that is indeed true, although only to a limited extent. We say that because two of the stars for the Boston Celtics in Game 1 were a rookie and a guard who wouldn’t even be a start right now if the team was completely healthy. So can the Celtics take a 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven against the Philadelphia 76ers? We’ll see, as these teams get together at 8:35 PM ET at the TD Garden. Remember that at BetAnySports, you can get reduced juice before the game, which will give you better odds than usual, and Live Betting Ultra, which enables real-time wagering after the game has begun.
The Sixers looked great against the Miami Heat in the previous round; in fact, they look about as good as anybody, and of course, they ended the season with a 16-game winning streak, so people know they are for real. But they are young, and they have not been in this position together. The Celtics did have a playoff experience last season, plus they have one of the most resourceful coaches in the NBA in Brad Stevens.
And Stevens’ ability to improvise has really been put to the test this season. He lost one of his former players at Butler, Gordon Hayward, in the season’s opening game. He is now without All-Star Kyrie Irving, the team’s leading scorer. He has gone without Marcus Smart, a staunch defender, who recently came back to the rotation. And now it appears he will be without Jaylen Brown for a second straight game, after Brown suffered a hamstring injury in Game 7 against the Washington Wizards.
In the NBA playoff odds that have been posted on this game by the people at BetAnySports, the Sixers are again laying points on the road:
Philadelphia 76ers -4
Boston Celtics +4
Over 206 points -110
Under 206 points -110
Joel Embiid was a force to be dealt with in Game 1, with 31 points and 13 rebounds, but that did not prevent Boston from coming away with a 117-101 victory. Philly’s failure to convert from three-point range contributed to the defeat, as they made just five of 26 attempts. But the Celtics had a very potent trio on display, with 29 points, including seven triples, coming from Terry Rozier, who has become like a folk hero in the playoffs. Rookie Jayson Tatum, the first-round pick out of Duke, had 28, and Al Horford, the old pro who holds down the fort in the middle, had 26. The Sixers, who allowed opponents to shoot only 34.2% from three-point range in the regular season, second-best in the NBA (trailing only Boston, by the way), permitted the Celts to hit 17 of 35 from long-range.
From the 76ers’ standpoint, of course, that has to change. There is nothing that necessarily dictates Boston can shoot like that again from the outside. But they don’t really have to in order to come out of this was a second straight win. In fact, they tied for the #1 spot in Defensive Rating, and that is one area where the presence of Smart means an awful lot. There is no question about the talent level on the Philadelphia team – Ben Simmons had 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the opener, for example – and the distance shooters are better than they showed. So there is something they can do to improve the Game 1 result, including giving some playing time to Markelle Fultz, the #1 overall draft pick who did not receive any minutes at all. But on principle, we’re not sure we want to play the points here, as we give Stevens and his game-planning an awful lot of respect.
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