|5 BOS (-110) @ williamhill|
My 10* Situational Stunner is on the Bos Celtics at 7:35 ET.
The first game of Friday's ESPN doubleheader is 8-5 Boston playing at 10-5 Philadelphia. These teams met Wednesday in Philly, with Embiid's 42 points leading the way to a 117-109 win (Sixers outscored the Celtics 31-17 in the 4th quarter). Boston has lost two straight after a five-game winning streak and the 76ers are 8-1 at home. Boston's Tatum has been out due to COVID-19 protocols but head coach Brad Stevens said Tatum has a "50-50 chance" of playing Friday.
The Celtics played well for large stretches on Wednesday night, led by Jaylen Brown's (25.8 & 5.8) 26 points and 25 from Marcus Smart (13.3 & 5.5 APG). However, they clearly missed Jayson Tatum (26.9 & 7.1). The Celtics did receive a huge lift from PG Kemba Walker, who hit five 3-pointers and scored 19 points in just his second game back from a knee injury (Celtics are 0-2 in his return). Rookie Pritchard (8.3) and FA signee Teague (7.1) give Boston depth on the perimeter. Undersized center Theis is shooting 69.1% from the floor, while averaging 9.6 PPG over his last 10. He's now getting help inside from former Cav Thompson, who is averaging 6.9 PPG and a team-high 8.5 RPG.
Embiid used a strict offseason conditioning program and is averaging 26.4 & 11.3. His 42-point effort makes him just the second player to have two, 40-point games this season, joining Washington's Bradley Beal. PF Harris (19.3 & 6.8) and PG Simmons (12.2-9.2-8.0) have contributed nicely, while rookie Maxey (11.6) plus vets Danny Green (9.7) and Dwight Howard (6.9 & 7.9) have all played in each of Philly's 15 games. SG Milton is adding 16.8 PPG off the bench.
Obviously, it would be GREAT to get Tatum back but note that the Celtics hung with Philly all game on Wednesday, with no Tatum and Embiid scoring 42 points. Tatum or not, the Celtics (Boston swept Philly 4-0 in last season's playoffs) plus the points is the play in this one.