3 bold predictions for second round vs. Sixers – Fitnessnacks & Sports

The 2023 NBA Playoffs have featured some of the best matchups we’ve seen in a while, and the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers are no exception. The old foes haven’t faced each other in the postseason since the 2020 Bubble, yet they’ll renew their rivalry tonight in Boston for Game 1 of the highly anticipated series.

To get to this point, Boston and Philadelphia followed relatively similar paths. The Celtics had a strong regular-season record of 57-25 that earned them the No. 2 seed. Philly was right behind them in the No. 3 seed with a 54-28 overall record.

So far in the playoffs, the Sixers took care of business in the first round and swept the Brooklyn Nets. The C’s had a bit more trouble with their first-round matchup, as they were pushed to six games before knocking out the pesky Atlanta Hawks.

Boston’s failure to put Atlanta away gave Sixers star Joel Embiid more time to rest. However, his status is still in question for Game 1. His health will be a big factor in how this series shakes out, so hopefully this Eastern Conference showdown isn’t marred by injuries.

In spite of all the question marks, here are three bold Celtics predictions for their second-round battle against the Philadelphia 76ers.

3. Jaylen Brown will lead all scorers on both sides

The All-Star pairing of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown has led the way for the Celtics all season.

In the first round, Tatum scored 27.2 points per game, while Brown put up a close 26.7 points per outing. Tatum is typically the prominent scorer for the C’s, but the Sixers guarded him well for most of their regular-season meetings. In each of Tatum’s last three games against Philly, he was held under 20 points and shot worse than 42% from the field.

On the other hand, Brown dropped 26 points on the Sixers while shooting 47.6% from the field the last time he played them. And even though he didn’t look eager to shoot at times in the first round, he averaged an impressive 32.6 points in the final three contests of the series.

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▔▏┗┛▕▔ consider
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32-5-2 on 13-25 FG & 6-8 3PT shooting in G6 win over Hawks 🥵

Full highlights ▶️ https://t.co/UiqvXHOWtx pic.twitter.com/VB7OwZFG9a

— Tomek Kordylewski (@Timi_093) April 28, 2023

So it shouldn’t surprise you if the two-time All-Star is the leading scorer in the series. Plus, with the health of MVP-hopeful Joel Embiid up in the air, it might be tough for him to keep up with Brown’s offensive pace. Regardless of who scores the most for the Green Team, they’ll need both Tatum and Brown on their A games to take down a tough Sixers squad.

2. This series will go to seven games

The four regular-season games between the Celtics and Sixers were decided by an average of 5.2 points. So this playoff series could very well go the distance.

While Embiid’s health could be a determining factor, the Celtics have repeatedly played worse against opponents without their top players this season. Just recently, Boston fell at home to Atlanta in Game 5 when the Hawks didn’t even have guard Dejounte Murray.

Assuming Joel Embiid is out tonight in Game 1, it’s probably worth remembering that the Celtics had some setbacks this year when the opposition was missing a key piece… pic.twitter.com/0gyAb2IRkR

— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) May 1, 2023

If Embiid plays every game in this series, which could still happen given how much is at stake, there’s a good chance of a seven-game contest. The two rivals match up pretty evenly. They share similar star power, have relatively similar benches, and both boast great home-court atmospheres. Who comes out on top could depend on how injured Embiid actually is. But either way, fans should get ready for a close fight.

1. The winner will go to the NBA Finals

With Milwaukee gone, the Celtics and Sixers are the top seeds in the Eastern Conference. Therefore, the winner of this series has a great opportunity to make it all the way to the NBA Finals.

Although the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks are formidable, they’re both banged up. Knicks big Julius Randle sat out Game 1. And red-hot Heat forward Jimmy Butler looked shaken up after a late-game ankle injury.

Jimmy Butler is down after rolling his ankle badly on this drive.

Hope he’s okay 🙏

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra: “F*ck”pic.twitter.com/3hUSFHDQWK

— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) April 30, 2023

Additionally, both the Celtics and Sixers could arguably take down these two teams at full strength as well. And no matter who wins, Boston and Philly would have the home-court advantage in the next series, too.

Overall, whoever prevails in this Celtics-Sixers series has a fairly open path to the NBA Finals. The Celtics will be eager to return there after last year’s disappointing loss. However, the Sixers will be just as hungry to make their first Finals appearance in 22 years.

But before either squad can dream of an NBA championship, they’ll have to duke it out during Game 1 tonight at 7:30 EST.

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Courtesy : https://clutchpoints.com/boston-celtics-3-bold-predictions-for-second-round-vs-sixers


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