The Celtics-Sixers rivalry will rise once more. Seeding video games in NBA bubble have been a number of enjoyable to observe, as gamers throughout the league achieve their rhythm again and coaches solidify their depth charts heading into postseason play. With the playoffs beginning subsequent week, one of the crucial fascinating matchups within the Japanese Convention will certainly be the 3-6 collection between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers.
Whereas the Celtics received’t have the Beantown trustworthy in Orlando to cheer them on, they need to win this collection with the Sixers due to these three components.
The Sixers could also be lacking each of their stars
Expectations for the 2019-20 Philadelphia 76ers had been sky-high this preseason, as a couple of nationwide NBA writers anticipated the workforce to be in title competition as a result of strong roster and the starpower of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
The Sixers had been removed from title contenders all season lengthy, as they struggled to mesh nicely chemistry-wise whereas managing to remain afloat partially because of their dominance at house, profitable 31 of 35 attainable video games at Wells Fargo Middle.
Philadelphia received’t get that home-court benefit within the bubble, as they may even be with out All-Star level guard Ben Simmons for the playoffs, who left the bubble to get season-ending knee surgical procedure.
Simmons would have been a matchup nightmare for the Celtics, as he may have taken smaller guards like Kemba Walker and Marcus Sensible within the put up, whereas having sufficient velocity and size to do some injury towards rising stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
Embiid has at all times been an issue for the Celtics, as within the playoffs in 2018, even with a chief Al Horford to defende him, Embiid nonetheless averaged 23.zero factors per recreation and 14.zero rebounds per recreation towards a Celtics workforce that lacked frontcourt depth that season.
Whereas each Celtics fan is aware of that they might use extra frontcourt depth this season, Embiid has handled a couple of nagging accidents within the bubble, hurting his foot towards the Portland Path Blazers and his hand towards the Toronto Raptors.
With Embiid’s prolonged harm historical past, he is probably not totally wholesome for almost all of the Celtics’ collection, and if the Sixers should attempt to compete with an ailing Embiid and with out Simmons in any capability, they’ll be preventing an uphill battle.
The Celtics’ offense has been one of many league’s best within the Bubble
Boston’s beginning lineup options a number of offensive expertise in Walker, Brown, Tatum and Gordon Hayward, however because of varied accidents this season, that group has not gotten a number of time in the course of the season to gel collectively and get offensive stream going.
They’ve regarded far more snug enjoying collectively within the bubble, partially due to Tatum’s playmaking capability persevering with to progress.
After a putrid 5-point efficiency towards the Milwaukee Bucks of their first contest within the bubble, Tatum has been in search of his teammates extra, as the sport seems to be getting simpler for him after upping his help totals to three.6 a recreation for the reason that restart.
An All-Star again in February, Tatum is drawing much more respect from opposing defenses after a stellar 2019-20 season, opening up extra alternatives for the remainder of his gifted teammates, as he advised Taylor Snow of NBA.com.
“I’m drawing a number of consideration on isos and particularly on the decide and roll,” Tatum stated after final Friday’s win towards Portland. “[Opposing defenses] are blitzing so much, or no less than displaying as much as assist, as much as contact, and the man within the slot, they’ve obtained to chop and simply make the move to the man that’s open. And we did that so much tonight. Guys obtained some simple open seems to be and I feel that opened the sport up for us.”
The Celtics have led the league in internet score for the reason that restart, posting a powerful offensive score of 119.8, adequate for third for the reason that restart.
The Sixers have been one of many higher defensive groups within the league all season, however with as environment friendly and unfold out the scoring has been for Boston these days, they’ll have their work reduce out for them.
Jaylen Brown is lastly clicking offensively
Whereas Jaylen Brown has at all times amassed factors from his fierce protection and underrated off-ball cuts, he hasn’t shot the ball from deep as a lot most NBA wings, averaging simply over Three three-point makes an attempt in his first three skilled seasons.
Brown has been letting it fly down in Orlando, averaging a team-high Eight three-point makes an attempt a recreation.
Whereas he’s solely making slightly greater than 36 % of these threes, Brown’s numbers haven’t dipped that a lot, in comparison with his common season percentages in previous season, with him taking pictures greater than twice as many threes, which is an effective signal for Boston’s fan.
Brown clearly has extra confidence from exterior, and is getting extra alternatives via Boston’s ball motion on offense.
Brown has surprisingly been Boston’s main scorer within the restart, just because he has develop into extra aggressive on offense and has been profiting from numerous open seems to be created by his teammates slashing via the paint and drawing assist.
If Brown can proceed to play nicely within the playoffs and benefit from the newfound alternatives inside the improved offense, Sixers forwards in Tobias Harris and Glenn Robinson III could not have the ability to sustain. And it doesn’t assist that the Sixers lack their greatest wing defender in Ben Simmons, who may gradual Brown or Tatum in the event that they caught hearth in these playoff video games.
Philadelphia has been aggressive of their video games since dropping Simmons, dropping by a mixed margin of seven towards Portland and Toronto. It raises the query for Sixers followers as to if they need to break up the All-Star pairing of Simmons and Embiid, who’re each injury-prone and nonetheless don’t mesh nicely on offense collectively after three seasons.
If Boston stays environment friendly on offense, it could be a wrestle for the depleted Philadelphia Sixers to win greater than a recreation on this playoff collection, as yet one more season involves a disappointing season for the Metropolis of Brotherly Love
The Decide: Boston wins collection, 4-1
celtics vs 76ers playoffs 2012,nba