The Sixers host the Celtics tonight at the Wells, and even though Philly will be without injured Joel Embiid, it’s a primo mid-season match-up.
Boston has been a defensive powerhouse this season. They have the No. 1 defense in the league overall at 103.67 points allowed per game. Earlier in the season, this number would not have been good for the top few spots, but as the season wears on, teams start to score better and get a little laxer on the defensive end of the hardwood. The Celtics will be heading into Philly for this one, and unfortunately, they have played around 1-point better defensively while on the road – 102.59 per game. On offense, they are mediocre. Boston has the No. 14 scoring road offense with 109.18 points per game, which is two points less than their overall average.
The Sixers own the No. 17 home offense, dropping 111.33 points per game through the nets at Well Fargo Center. And they own the No. 2 home defense in the NBA, barely letting opponents get past the centennial mark at 101.5 points per game allowed. So, we have the makings of an intensely defensive game between two Eastern Conference rivals.
But after beating the Thunder the other night the Sixers are 17-2 as the home team this season, which puts them at 88.9% in Philly. The one problem is, they seem to sputter after extended rest. They’ve lost four of the seven games they’ve played after 2-3 days off, putting them at just 42.9% after two-plus days of rest.
The Boston Celtics are pretty good on the road, winning close to two-thirds of their highway games (64.7%). They are 6-2 or 75% with a rest disadvantage and 3-2 (60%) with no rest at all. We don’t have the odds available just yet, but the Celtics have only been away underdogs seven times this season. That said, when they are road dogs, they win just 42.9% of the time. So hopefully, the oddsmakers line the 76ers out as slight home favs over the Celtics.
Even though 8 of the last 12 76ers games have gone over the points total, my prediction for this game is a total score that finishes under 211 combined points. Most of those games were road affairs where the Sixers drastically underperformed. But now they are back at home and on top of that, hosting one of the best road defenses in the league. This one will be a battle to the last second with turnovers likely dictating the victor. Philly is the 5th best in the league at stealing the ball, 8.4 per game and Boston ain’t too bad at No. 9 with 8.2. This one is going to come down to the wire!