The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics belong to the Eastern Division of the NBA.

The 76ers were the Syracuse Nationals before they moved to Philadelphia in 1963. Both states have heated rivalry in all sporting events, but especially in the NBA, where they have shared the stage for half a century.

The 76ers and Boston Celtics have faced each other 109 times in the playoffs, and the Celtics lead Philadelphia 62-47. The last time the two met each other in the playoffs was in 2020 when the 76ers suffered a humiliating series defeat of 4-0. Both teams are at the top of the Eastern Conference this season, but only time will tell whether the rivals will meet each other in the playoffs.

Philly & Boston History


Philly and Boston faced each other for the first time in 1949 when the Warriors (yes, before they were sold and moved to SF in 1962 they played in Philly) defeated the Celtics 87-71.

Their real rivalry began in the 1950s when Philly beat the Celtics three times in a row in the playoffs in 1954,55 and 56. The Celtics – looking for redemption – signed Bill Russell, K.C Jones, and Tom Heinsohn, the rookie for their universities in 1956 and won the next three playoffs against the Warriors in 1957, 1959, and 1961.


In 1963 the 76ers moved to Philadelphia, and in a 1965 trade, they welcomed Warriors Legend Wilt Chamberlain (who was from Philadelphia Warriors before the Warriors moved), who increased the rivalry matchup. The matchup between Chamberlain and Russell was the talk of the hour as both were superstars of the NBA. The two players were the base of the rivalry between the two teams. Both played as centers and have made unbelievable records.

Butch Van Breda Kolff said: “The difference between Russell and Wilt was this: Russell would ask, ‘What do I need to do to make my teammates better?’ Then he’d do it. Wilt honestly thought the best way for his team to win was for him to be in the best possible setting. He’d ask, ‘What’s the best situation for me?'”

Furious Brawls

In the 1980s, the matchups between the two teams took a real turn as the match most looked forward to turned into brawls. After the drafting of Larry Bird in 1979 by the Celtics, things started to get fierce. The bird had some personal grudges to pick with the 76ers.

He was involved in many controversies during his stay in Boston, but still, he helped Celtics defeat the 76ers and end the five-year run streak in 1983. In the 1983 match between the two arch-rivals, Larry Bird had a great fight with Marc Iavaroni.

During the fight, Bird split the 76ers Coach Billy Cunningham’s sports jacket in half. In 1984 there was the famous choking between Bird and Julius Erving. The Boston Fans loved Larry Bird as he always had something in store for the 76ers.

Moreover, the game between the 76ers and Celtics brings genuine interest to the bettors. However, with sports betting having been outlawed until May 2018, fans have been unable to use local sportsbooks for all of their wagering needs.

Nonetheless, this has recently changed across the US. While those in PA have been able to enjoy sports betting for a little while, those in MA will be able to join them imminently. This is because the activity will be made legal and go live imminently. Retail betting will go live at the end of Jan 2023, while online betting is set to commence in March 2023.

This means that for the first time, the game between the 76ers and Celtics will have sports betting opportunities that punters in the East will be able to enjoy with the use of betting sites in Pennsylvania.

This could potentially increase the fans’ interest more than ever in the Celtics’ home games. Even though the match between the two does not need any advertisement, this step by the state government will attract more fans to the game.

Silence and Rebuilding

After the ’85 playoffs, the 76ers took a real hit at the bottom as they failed to progress to the playoffs for sixteen years. Many of their star players had been traded or retired during that period, and the 76ers had to start fresh. Even the Celtics did not have a high reward during that time. Both the teams had a bad 90’s experience.

After 16 years in the playoffs, the face-off between the two sides featured new stars in the shape of Allen Iverson for the 76ers and Paul Pierce for the Celtics. Both had been the MVPs in the past and had a real showdown in the 2002 Playoffs. The match was close, but the Celtics came out victorious.

Recent Face-offs

Even though the match is still anxiously awaited, the competition is no longer fierce. Celtics now have a tremendous edge over the 76ers and have managed to beat them for the last three Playoffs Series in 2012, 2018, and 2020. Now the main interests of the people in the game mainly include betting. The 76ers and the Celtics playoff game has been one the most watched NBA games. In 2017 the opening game had about 3 million views.

This season Jojo and Tyrese Maxey lead the 76ers and are just behind the Celtics who are leading the Eastern Championship. Jojo, during a post-conference, said that he believes the 76ers could win the championship as they are nearing the playoffs. On the other hand, the Celtics are looking strong, with Tantum and Brown leading the way. The Celtics have so far defeated the 76ers and the Lakers this season.


The rivalry between the two sides has progressed a lot over time, and we hope we will get a great response from the players in the future. These two teams’ matches are nail-biters for the fans as they get involved more than ever. Betting should allow people to come together and have fun, and the recent steps by the state of Massachusetts have helped in the cause. The game expected in the playoffs between Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers feels like the ones back in the ’60s. Even though the Celtics have the first laugh in the seasonal matches this season, we are from deciding who would have the last laugh.

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