Celtics vs 76ers: Series Preview & Prediction

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Celtics vs 76ers: Series Preview & Prediction

Chicago Bulls

Well this series kind of feels like a de facto Eastern Conference Final, doesn’t it?

Two bitter rivals and two perennial MVP candidates will go at it with Jayson Tatum and the Celtics taking on Joel Embiid and the 76ers. These two teams have no shortage of playoff history in recent years. Since 2017-18, the Celtics and 76ers have met twice in the postseason. Boston won both series by scores of 4-0 and 4-1.

The two teams played four times this season with Boston taking three of the four games. In the opening round, Philadelphia swept past Brooklyn without Joel Embiid for part of the series, while Boston got by Atlanta in six games after some Trae Young heroics extending things. Philly will need a healthy Embiid to get by the Celtics in this series. That will be the ultimate question here – how healthy is Joel Embiid?

Celtics vs 76ers Series Schedule

  • Game 1: Monday, May 1st – 76ers at Celtics – 6:30 pm CT – TNT
  • Game 2: Wednesday, May 3rd – 76ers at Celtics – 7:00 pm CT – TV TBD
  • Game 3: Friday, May 5th – Celtics at 76ers – 6:30 pm CT – ESPN
  • Game 4: Sunday, May 7th – Celtics at 76ers – 2:30 pm CT – ESPN
  • Game 5 (if necessary): Tuesday, May 9th – 76ers at Celtics – Time TBD – TNT
  • Game 6 (if necessary): Thursday, May 11th – Celtics at 76ers – Time TBD – ESPN
  • Game 7 (if necessary): Sunday, May 14th – 76ers at Celtics – Time TBD – TV TBD

Who Is Favored To Win The Series?

On DraftKings Sportsbook, the Celtics are currently -310 to win the series while the 76ers are +250.

Keys To The Series

  • Joel Embiid’s Health. Unfortunately, this often seems to be a toss-up for Philadelphia this time of year. The perennial MVP candidate sprained his right knee, causing him to miss Game 4 of the Nets series. Embiid also hasn’t practiced since injuring his knee. Embiid won his second straight scoring title this season averaging 33.1 PPG and also grabbed 10.2 RPG. When healthy, he’s an absolute beast and a matchup problem for anyone. If the 76ers have any chance in this series, they need a fully healthy Embiid.
  • Three vs Free. In the four matchups this season (Boston went 3-1, and all four games were decided by 10 points or less), Philly outscored Boston by 37 points at the free-throw line. Boston on the other hand dominated from beyond the arc outscoring Philly by 57 points. For Philly, defending the three and being more efficient from deep will be key. For Boston, staying out of foul trouble and keeping Embiid and Harden away from the charity stripe line will be huge.
  • Philadelphia’s Defense. The Sixers owned a top-10 defensive rating throughout the regular season, but they really struggled with Boston’s scoring depth, especially on the wing. Philly will have to find a way to slow down Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown defensively.

Celtics vs 76ers Prediction

This series just seems destined to go the way it always does, especially with Joel Embiid’s knee injury. Even if he’s healthy, Philly is fighting an uphill battle. The Celtics in the end I think are just too deep.

Celtics in 5.

Author: Matt Rooney

Matt is from the Chicagoland area and has been working in Chicago sports since 2015 with stops at WGN Radio, the Chicago Blackhawks, Stadium, and NBC Sports Chicago prior to landing at Betsperts. Matt covers just about everything for Betsperts and Bleacher Nation but focuses on the NHL and college football.