|2 BOS (-114) @ Fanduel|
My 9* Rivalry Rout is on the Bos Celtics at 7:35 ET.
The Boston Celtics were expected to be among the East's best teams but welcome Philadelphia to TD Garden just 25-25 on the season. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers (one of Boston's fiercest rivals) sit 34-16, just a half-game back of the Nets (current No. 1 seed in the East). The Milwaukee Bucks are 1 1/2-games back of the 76ers, as those three teams have separated themselves from the rest of the Eastern Conference teams. The Celtics are currently the No. 7 seed and will desperately want to avoid the "Play-In" round which features seeds 7 through 10.
Joel Embiid returned from a 10-game absence due to a bone bruise in his left knee on Saturday during Philadelphia's 122-113 victory over Minnesota (had 24 & 8), but sat out Sunday's 116-100 loss to Memphis. "Any player who has been out three weeks and then plays in a game, you probably don't play him in a (back-to-back), it's just smart," Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said. "This one was pretty simple. This wasn't a hard decision for any of us." Embiid is averaging 29.8 & 11.3 in 32 games this season and expects to be on the floor in this one. The rest of Philly's starting-five consists of PF Harris (20.8 & 7.3) and SF Green (9.6 & 3.7) plus guards Simmons (15.2-7.9-7.2) and Curry (12.7). Milton (14.1) has been the best scorer off the bench but kudos to veteran center Howard (7.0 & 8.3), who has played in every game this season.
Part of Boston's problem this season has been staying healthy. However, head coach Brad Stevens likes the balance and cohesiveness his healthier roster is playing with these days. All Stars Tatum (25.2-7.0-4.3) and Brown (24.3-5.7-3.6) have only missed a handful of games but PG Walker (17.9-3.6-4.8) didn't get on the court until and team-leader Smart (12.9 & 5.5 APG) missed 19 games from. Big Man Thompson (7.9 & 8.4) has been out since mid-march, while Theis (9.5 & 5.2) was moved at the trade deadline. The good news has been Robert Williams has averaged 11.8 & 9.3 with Thompson sidelined, including 18.0 & 8.5 in Boston's back-to-back wins. Then there is the recently acquired Fournier (19.7 PPG while with Orlando), who followed up his seven 3-pointers in a win Friday night against the Houston Rockets with four more vs Charlotte to finish with 17 points!
The Sixers swept back-to-back games against the Celtics in Philadelphia back on Jan 20 and 22, so expect the revenge motive to play a big part in this rivalry game that turns into a Boston rout!