Boston and Philadelphia continue their regular-season four-game set with Game 3. The Celtics aim for their third consecutive victory over the 76ers. While the totals are 225 points, the visitors are slight road favorites. This should be a great matchup between two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Boston Celtics (43-17;32-27-1 ATS), finished the first half of the season with a victory over the Detroit Pistons 127-109. They then picked up where they left off and defeated the Indiana Pacers in overtime 142-138. The Celtics could not cover an 8-point spread against the resilient Pacers team. Jayson Tatum was the star with 31 points, 12 boards and seven assists.
Boston leads the Eastern Conference, one game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks and three games above the 76ers. On 37.9% shooting beyond the 3-point line (25th in the NBA), the Celtics score 118.2 points per 100 possessions. The Celtics are fifth in adjusted defensive efficiency with 112.1 points per 100 possessions, 11th in opposing 3-point percentage (35.5%) and seventh in opposing 2-point percentage (53.2%).
The Philadelphia 76ers, 39-19 (35-23 ATS) went into the All-Star break riding a four-game winning streak. The Sixers won their fifth consecutive game, beating the Memphis Grizzlies 110 to 105. Philadelphia overcame a 17-point deficit to win the game. Memphis was held scoreless for the final 70 seconds. James Harden scored 31 points for the Sixers. Joel Embiid had 27 points, 19 rebounds and six assists. Joel Embiid also recorded six blocks.
The 76ers average 116.3 points per 100 possessions (which is 8th in the NBA). They shoot 54.4% from the inside of the arc (15th) and 38.4% from downtown (4th). They are averaging 112.3 points per 100 possessions (6th), 54.9% shooting inside the arc (15th), and 34.2% beyond the 3-point line (2nd). The Sixers allowed the second-lowest number of 3-pointers per match (11.1).
The Celtics have won both of these teams’ previous matchups this season but both games were played in Boston. Playing in Philadelphia should result in a different outcome.
The 76ers must be motivated after a couple of losses at TD Garden, Boston. The Celtics are making an astounding 16.0 triples per game (second in the league), and the Sixers, who have been defending the 3-point line at its highest level, should be able to slow them down. Joel Embiid wants to prove he is a legitimate MVP contender, so I’m backing the Sixers to cover.
Philadelphia has won seven of the last eight games it has played at home. The Sixers are 5-0 ATS over their five previous outings, 10-2 ATS over their 12 February contests, and 7-3 ATS during their last ten meetings against the Celtics. They have won six of their seven previous seven games.
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