The Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics collide in a pivotal Game 2 at the TD Garden on Wednesday night.
The Philadelphia 76ers will be brimming with confidence after taking down the Celtics in a stunning 119-115 road win in Game 1 on Monday. James Harden led the way with 45 points and six assists on 17 of 30 shooting, Tyrese Maxey added 26 points with four steals while Tobias Harris chipped in with 18 points on eight of 16 shooting. As a team, the 76ers shot 50 percent from the field and 17 of 38 from the 3-point line as they got off to a poor start and fell into an early 12-point deficit to trail for most of the game, until they closed the final 1:38 on a 12-4 run to escape with the unlikely victory without Joel Embiid who is listed as doubtful for Game 2.
Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics will be kicking themselves after losing home-court advantage in the series opener. Jayson Tatum led the way with 39 points, 11 rebounds and five assists on 14 of 25 shooting, Jaylen Brown added 23 points while Malcolm Brogdon chipped in with 20 points on nine of 16 shooting off the bench. As a team, the Celtics shot a sizzling 58 percent from the field and 10 of 26 from the 3-point line as they set the tone with 38 points in the first quarter to take the early lead, but they never put the 76ers away and it cost them in the end as they just had no answer for the 76ers’ Harden once he caught fire in the fourth quarter. Derrick White had a rough night as he finished with just four points on one of five shooting while Marcus Smart finished with six turnovers.
Looking at the betting trends, the 76ers are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five road games, 5-0-1 ATS in their last six games following a win and 6-0-1 ATS in their last seven games overall. The Celtics are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 home games, 7-1 ATS in their last eight games against a team with a winning record and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games overall.
Head to head, the 76ers are 1-5 ATS in the last six meetings overall.
The 76ers will probably be shorthanded again as Joel Embiid is currently listed as doubtful with the knee sprain, while the Celtics are keeping an eye on Marcus Smart who is questionable due to a chest contusion. The 76ers did such a good job of stealing home-court in Game 1 thanks to a vintage performance from Harden, but I don’t think Harden can replicate that performance for a second straight game on the road. It's too hard to imagine the Celtics dropping a second home game against a 76ers team missing Embiid, so I like the Celtics to bounce back and square up the series, but I think the 76ers hang around and earn the backdoor cover with this hefty line.