The Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics and the stage is set for an electrifying Eastern Conference semifinals matchup. Game 1 will kick off at the TD Garden on Monday, with the Sixers aiming to reach the Eastern Conference finals.
For the Sixers to move on in the playoffs, they will have to overcome a formidable Celtics team that won three out of four regular-season games against them. Here we go…Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics – again.
During the regular season, the Celtics showcased their depth and versatility, with multiple players stepping up to contribute on the floor. Coach Doc Rivers will have to strategize to counter this balanced attack from the Celtics. (Also, this is Doc’s first go round in the Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics rivalry on the Sixers bench.)
Joel Embiid’s Injury Concerns
Key Matchups and X-Factors
- Tyrese Maxey vs. Celtics’ Perimeter Defense: In the regular season, Tyrese Maxey struggled against the Celtics, averaging just 10.0 points and shooting 35.4% from the floor and 21.4% from beyond the arc. The Sixers will need him to step up, especially in light of Embiid’s injury concerns.
- James Harden’s Performance at the Rim: While James Harden managed to get to the rim against the Nets in Round 1, his finishing left much to be desired. The Sixers will need him to convert those chances against the Celtics to provide a scoring boost.
- Containing the Dynamic Duo: Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown: Tatum and Brown will be a major challenge for the Sixers, who will likely assign Tobias Harris and PJ Tucker to guard them. During the regular season, Tatum averaged 21.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 6.3 assists, while Brown averaged 21.7 points in three games against the Sixers.
- X-Factor: Tobias Harris: Harris was outstanding against the Nets in Round 1, averaging 20.3 points on 56.7% shooting from the floor and 57.1% from beyond the arc. The Sixers will need him to maintain this level of play in the semifinals.
- The PJ Tucker Factor: Acquired for moments like these, PJ Tucker’s hustle plays will be crucial against in this Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics series. In the last matchup against Boston, he scored 11 points and hit three key three-pointers in the fourth quarter. His performance will be vital for the Sixers’ success.
Embiid’s Health: The Ultimate Deciding Factor
The Sixers’ fate in this series hinges on Embiid’s availability. If he misses any games, it will be difficult for Philadelphia to overcome the loss against a deep Celtics roster. The series’ delayed start provides some hope for his Game 1 appearance.
Embiid’s health will be the determining factor for this Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics series. Without him at full strength, the Sixers will have to rely heavily on Harden, Maxey, and their role players. The Celtics, on the other hand, boast depth and talent, led by Tatum and Brown, making them a formidable force.
Sixers in 7