The Philadelphia 76ers head to Boston Wednesday night to play their divisional rivals, the Celtics. Both Philly and Boston have struggled out of the gate with injuries, rotations and plenty of other things.
Both teams are 11-10, a lower record than either wanted to be to this point in the year. Neither squad is happy with their start, and will look to take it out on the other over the course of 48 minutes (or more) on Wednesday night.
With Joel Embiid missing a long stretch of games due to COVID-19, the team turned to new addition Andre Drummond. He played well initially, and then slowed down tremendously, looking more like the guy he was for the Lakers than the Cavaliers. With a limited rotation, it was very hard to win games, almost a mirror image of last season’s stretch just like it.
As for Boston, Ime Udoka has not found his job to be too easy. There was early-season drama in Beantown, and some of the pieces didn’t initially fit. But, they have begun to figure out the rotations and see who deserves the most bench minutes. Celtics fans are probably unhappy to see Payton Pritchard not logging time, but these are not easy decisions to make.
This is a game between two teams with a lot to prove to the rest of the league. The losing team will drop to .500.
Odds and Lines
The spread for Wednesday night is set at Boston -2.5. The over/under is sitting at 210.5 points. The Boston moneyline is -138, while Philadelphia is +115.
Philly Aiming for Key Road Win
With Ben Simmons still yet to suit up this year, Philly has been without their main playmaker and best defender. Though he was, and still would be, an obvious liability, the team is not better off without him, but it would not appear that a return is imminent. With him out, everything has shifted, and the winning has sort of stopped.
A #1 seed will probably not happen for Philly this year, who is usually much better at home than on the road. On the bright side, Tyrese Maxey has shown tremendous growth. On the downside, several players have regressed, and this team is showing it is not built to be great.
They cannot afford a loss, and need Embiid to go off.
Celtics Seek 12th Win
Jayson Tatum is shooting 39% from the floor. Jaylen Brown has missed nine games. Marcus Smart is one of the worst shooters in the league right now. But, there is still a lot of good thing going for Boston, including Al Horford’s triumphant return after spending time in Philly and OKC.
Dennis Schroder is coming off missing his first game of the year, and is not a lock to play. But, he has averaged 17-4-4 and is playing comfortably now that he is back in a sixth man role. Rob Williams is one of the best shot-blockers when he’s on the floor. And Grant Williams is shooting 43% from deep.
If they can contain Embiid and make Tobias Harris have to beat them, a win is likely.
On to the Pick
Boston will get it done at home, giving the Celtics faithful something to cheer about. 35 for Tatum.
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