76ers vs. Celtics Predictions: Game 2 for Eastern Conference Semifinals

76ers vs. Celtics Predictions: Game 2 for Eastern Conference Semifinals

The Philadelphia went into Boston and stunned the East No. 2 seeded Celtics in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series despite playing without superstar Joel Embiid, and he’s not expected to play in Game 2 on Wednesday, either. Thus, Boston is a heavy favorite again on the NBA odds.


76ers vs. Celtics, Game 2 | 2023 NBA Expert Analysis


How to Bet Philadelphia at Boston NBA Odds & TV Info

When: Wednesday, 8 PM ET
Where: TD Garden
Stream: TNT app
Radio: Tunein.com
NBA Odds: Celtics -9 (total 218.5)


Why Bet on Philadelphia?

James Harden had arguably the best playoff game of his Hall of Fame career in Game 1 as Harden was very aggressive without the injured Joel Embiid. Harden finished with a playoff career-high 45 points on 17-for-30 shooting to go with six assists and two steals.

Harden’s total of 45 was the most points that a Sixers player has scored in a playoff game since Allen Iverson dropped 55 in April of 2003, and the performance was simply one of the best in franchise postseason history. Harden outscored the Boston dynamic duo of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum 15-10 in the 4th quarter. Tatum’s last made field goal of the game was at 11:06 in the 4th, while Brown’s was at 6:11. They were 0-for-2 with 3 points from the line combined in clutch time.

“I haven’t felt one of those zones in a minute,” Harden said afterward. “You know what I mean? Just to be aggressive and shoot the basketball and do what I want. “That felt really good. … I’m capable of doing it, so it felt good. It felt good to make those shots, to give ourselves a chance.”

Tyrese Maxey chipped in 26 points and four steals. Maxey helped spark a second-half comeback for Philadelphia in Monday’s Game 1 win, scoring 19 of his 26 points in the second half while finishing second on the team in scoring. Maxey has tallied 25 or more points in three of his five postseason appearances.

Paul Reed started for Embiid and had 10 points and 13 rebounds. He also started Game 4 of the first round when Embiid was out and had similar numbers. Tobias Harris had 18 points and five rebounds. De’Anthony Melton also provided a big boost off of the bench with 17 points.

Embiid is still nursing a sprained LCL in his knee and hit makes little sense to play him in Game 2 when Philly already has stolen home-court advantage away. Better to wait until Game 3 at home. A Grade 1 LCL sprain could take a few weeks to fully recover from. If the sprain enters the Grade 2 or 3 range, the recovery time jumps to 4-8 weeks.

Embiid was getting up some shots at TD Garden during the team’s shootaround, but his doubtful status persisted until roughly an hour and a half before tip-off when he was ruled out. “We’ll see moving forward,” 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said pregame. “I honestly don’t know. I hope, but I can’t even say.” The Sixers continued their trend of success in Embiid’s absence, improving to 13-5 without their superstar this season.

Bet 76ers to Win Today
MyBookie Betting Lines for the Game


Why Bet on Boston?

Frankly no excuse for the Celtics to blow Game 1 not facing Embiid. Jayson Tatum gave the Celtics their final lead, 115-114, on a pair of free throws with 26.1 seconds left. Trailing 117-115, the Celtics had one final chance and got the ball to Tatum, but he lost the ball to Paul Reed, who was fouled and hit a pair of free throws.

The C’s opened the game with their best shooting quarter of the season – a 17-of-20 effort in the opening frame, which included a combined 10-of-11 effort from Jaylen Brown and Malcolm Brogdon. However, Philly remained right on their tail thanks to a 16-point quarter from James Harden. As good as Boston’s offense was in Game 1, its defense couldn’t contain Philly’s starting backcourt, as Harden and Tyrese Maxey combined for 66 points.

“I think in a lot of ways, when Embiid doesn’t play, everybody else is empowered,” Malcolm Brogdon said. “Everybody else has the green light and guys are gonna step up, and I thought that’s what happened tonight. I think we expected that, guys to step up, but we still struggled with it. We just gotta be prepared.”

Tatum finished with team-high totals of 39 points and 11 rebounds. He also dished out five assists while committing only two turnovers. Tatum, who scored 26 points the first half alone, has posted at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in four playoff games. Jaylen Brown had 23 points, six rebounds and four assists. Brown has tallied 20 or more points with five or more rebounds in three straight games for Boston.

Philadelphia attempted 14 more shots than Boston (89 to 75). Boston committed 16 turnovers, while the Sixers committed just six. Boston shot 8.2 percentage points better than the Sixers from the field, but Philadelphia hit seven more 3s and scored seven more points off turnovers. In the final 2:30 of the game, Boston had two turnovers and a panicky 1-for-6 shooting performance.

And even though they knew Embiid was out, and talked as a team about avoiding a mental letdown because of it, they couldn’t.

“As much as you don’t want to say it wasn’t a factor, I think it was,” Al Horford said. “We have to be better. We have to understand that we have to be able to play with whatever happens, whatever variables. But with our team, I’ve just seen it happen for us for whatever reason.”

Boston became the first team in NBA history to shoot 55 percent or better (58.7 percent) while committing 10 or fewer fouls and still lose. While the Celtics’ 16 turnovers didn’t help their cause, the primary culprit was Boston’s defense — particularly its plan to contain Harden.

Bet Boston to Win Today
MyBookie Betting Lines for the Game


Game Trends

  • 76ers are 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
  • 76ers are 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up win.
  • Celtics are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss.
  • Celtics are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 home games.
  • 76ers are 1-5 ATS in the last 6 meetings.

Expert Prediction

Celtics 115, 76ers 105


Wild Ending 76ers vs Celtics in Game 1


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