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Surging Celtics Shoot For Rare Win In Philadelphia

The Boston Celtics take on the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.

Boston (21-21 SU, 20-21-1 ATS) has won three straight and five of seven, but each of those games came against sub-.500 opponents. The Celtics face a much tougher challenge when they visit Joel Embiid and the 76ers (23-17, 20-20), who have won the last five meetings in Philly.

Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers
  • Date/Time: January 14, 7 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Wells Fargo Center
  • TV Coverage: ESPN
  • Opening Odds: 76ers -3.5 | O/U 214 (Line History)
  • Celtics vs 76ers Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

It’s rare to find the 76ers as this slight a favorite on their home floor, but when they are, they’re usually a reliable bet. Philadelphia is 7-1 SU and ATS in its last eight games as a home favorite of 3.5 points or less.

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Boston News & Notes

Led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics might be playing their best basketball of the season right now. Boston has won three straight and five of its last seven, getting back to the .500 mark Wednesday with a 119-100 win in Indiana. Tatum and Brown combined to score 67 points in that contest and are averaging 51.8 points as a duo over Boston’s last five.

Improved defense has also been a catalyst in the Celtics’ recent turnaround, as Boston has held five of its last six opponents to 100 points or less in regulation time. However, it’s worth noting that each of those foes had a losing record, so tonight’s clash with the Sixers will be telling about how much Boston has really improved at both ends of the court.

At the time of writing, Marcus Smart’s availability for tonight was in question after the guard missed Wednesday’s game with a right thigh contusion. Dennis Schroder stepped into the starting lineup in Smart’s absence and scored 23 points against the Pacers, hitting four of his five attempts from behind the arc.

Philadelphia News & Notes

Embiid has been on fire for the past month, scoring 31 points or more in eight straight games and leading the Sixers in scoring in Philly’s last 11 contests. He’s also scored exactly 31 points in each of his last five, although his aggressive play at the offensive end cost him the opportunity to score more in Wednesday’s 109-98 loss to Charlotte.

Embiid was whistled for three offensive fouls against the Hornets and found himself in foul trouble throughout the evening, committing his fifth foul with 16 minutes remaining. His three offensive fouls also accounted for seven of Philly’s 17 turnovers, an uncharacteristically sloppy performance from a squad that entered Wednesday having committed the third-fewest turnovers per game in the league.

Starting point guard Tyrese Maxey returned from COVID-19 protocols Wednesday and appeared a bit rusty after sitting out the previous four games, missing nine of his 13 shots from the field. Small forward Danny Green suffered a hip injury against the Hornets and is questionable for tonight, while backup point guard Shake Milton could miss his fifth straight with a back contusion.

How Boston Will Cover

Another big effort from Brown and Tatum will be key to the Celtics’ chances of pulling off the upset. Boston is 2-0 SU this season and 6-0 SU all-time when both of its stars score 30 points or more in the same game.

How Philadelphia Will Cover

Prior to Wednesday’s surprising loss to Charlotte, Philadelphia had won seven consecutive games and covered five straight. Meanwhile, Boston has beaten only two teams with winning records over the past month and has won just one of its last seven games on the road.

Computer Pick: 76ers -3.5

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Shark Bites
  • Boston is 1-6 SU and 2-5 ATS in its last 7 road games.
  • Philadelphia is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games.
  • Philadelphia is 6-0 ATS in its last 6 games vs Boston.