Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics Game 2 Preview, Predictions & Picks

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Brett Boyle previews the Sixers’ Game 2 against the Celtics after Boston took Game 1 of their Playoff series and shares his game predictions and picks.

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Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics Game 1 Recap

The Celtics took game 1 by a score of 109-101. The game was a back and forth contest with neither team able to get a big lead in the game. Jayson Tatum had a big game for Boston, setting a playoff career high with 32 points on 10-21 shooting. Jaylen Brown was not to be outdone, scoring a career high 29 on 9-16 shooting. The Celtics were largely led by their two talented wings, while playing stellar defense and forcing 18 Sixers turnovers.

On the other side of the ball, Joel Embiid attempted just 14 shots by the end of the game, after a hot start. The Sixers seemed to abandon their initial strategy of playing Embiid (and Horford) in the post and the offense had a lot of difficulties as a result. Joel Embiid shouldered the loss vowing to put the team on his back and dominate in game 2. We will see.

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics Game 2 Preview

I definitely expect a lot of the same in game 2 between these two teams. The Celtics will be without Gordon Hayward for the remainder of the series after he sprained his ankle in game 1. This will without a doubt lead to more minutes for Marcus Smart, who took over for Hayward after he left with the injury. This certainly helps the Celtics on the defensive end, but is a major handicap on the offensive side of the ball. Smart had just two points in 32 minutes in game 1. Boston will lean on their young stars for offense again in game 2.

The Sixers need to find a way to create more space for themselves offensively. There were too many possessions where they could not find an open look and spent a lot of time standing around or getting trapped by Boston’s double teams. Embiid will need to be a big factor again and for a longer period of time. I expect a bounce back game offensively from Furkan Korkmaz as well.

Defensively, expect a lot more of Matisse Thybulle on Jayson Tatum. When Thybulle was guarding Tatum, he went 2-9 with four points. When Tatum was guarded by anyone else, he was 8-12 for 28 points. I think that speaks for itself.

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics Game 2 Pick

Alright, let’s try this again. We had the spread in game 1 until an intentional foul ruined it (of course). After being 5.5 point favorites Monday night, the Celtics are 4.5 point favorites tonight. During the season, the 76ers have just a 6-19 record as the underdog, while the Celtics have covered the spread in 60.3% of their games.

Still, I hesitate to bet against the Sixers evening the series. So, I am taking the Sixers and the over at 215.5 points. I should note that games so far in the bubble have averaged 230 points per game.

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