The Boston Celtics visit the Philadelphia 76ers Saturday afternoon for round 3 action. The game starts at 4:00 pm central. After dropping a disappointing 2 in Boston, the 76ers will look to get their postseason back on track. Boston won games 1 and 2 by margins of 117-101 and 108-103, respectively. Philadelphia comes into this contest heavily favored: at -9.
76ers: Better Defense at Every Position
Philadelphia disappointed in most categories in games 1 and 2. Perhaps the most glaring was their lack of defensive pressure. After giving up a combined 225 points in games 1 and 2, they will need to focus on defense. 5 players from Boston have been averaging double digits this postseason. The scoring game come particularly from Boston’s guards. Sensation Ben Simmons will need to step up his game, get in front of Boston’s guards, and make them take tough shots, as they have been getting to the rim all playoffs long.
Look for Philadelphia to attempt to work the ball inside to the batmanesque Joel Embiid. Embiid has been averaging 21.4 points per game these playoffs. He has also been pulling down nearly 12 rebounds every game. With him averaging one, the 76ers will need at least a double double out of their star big man.
Boston Celtics: Continue Sharing the Ball
As mentioned earlier, 5 players from the Celtics have been averaging double digits points this postseason. While their assist numbers may not back this point up, it is clear that they are sharing the ball. Backup guard Terry Rozier has led the way in terms of assists, averaging just under 7 assists.
Expect another large performance from young sensation Jayson Tatum. Tatum has been averaging 17.4 points each game, often times seemingly getting to the basket at will. Tatum has also been shooting a good 42.6% from the floor, including 31.4% from downtown. Look for Tatum and Terry Rozier‘s scoring to break the ice, so that Boston is able to work the ball inside to Al Horford. The aforementioned Rozier will look to build on an already impressive postseason, where he has averaged 19.1 points per game. If Philadelphia isn’t able to stop Boston’s guards from getting into the lane, they should be able to also open up the outside shot.
76ers at Least Cover the Spread
Given the large point spread, I would favor Philadelphia. Look for the Sixers to immediately work the ball inside. If they are able to do this, guards like J.J. Redick should be able to get some open outside looks. Redick has averaged 20.4 points per game, making his shooting an integral part of the Philadelphia offense. Also, Dario Saric and Marco Bellineli have averaged 15.6 points and 15 points per game, respectively. Overall, Boston may win this game, but it’s tough to imagine Philadelphia dropping this game by more than 9 points. Their firepower should keep them within the spread. Take the 76ers at -9.
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