Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia Sixers: Opening Day Preview

Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia Sixers: Opening Day Preview

by October 23, 2019 0 comments

The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers reignite their rivalry in this opening day showdown. 

Al Horford will be making his 76ers’ debut against his former team Wednesday when the 76ers meet the Celtics for an opening day contest. This signing was a massive pickup for Philly as Horford was always Boston’s Embiid stopper, but now they don’t have one. Horford isn’t flashy, but he does everything right, and he’ll take the stress off of Joel Embiid.  

Josh Richardson will also be making his 76ers debut. He was acquired from the Miami Heat in the four-team Jimmy Butler trade. Richardson will be assigned to guard Kemba Walker. 

Speaking of Kemba Walker, he will make his Celtics debut. It will be interesting to watch Walker this season as he’ll be on a relevant team for the first time in his career. He replaces Kyrie Irving, who was heavily criticized for his lack of leadership skills in the clubhouse. 

The most significant downgrade from last year to this year on the Celtics’ roster is at the center position. Al Horford to Enes Kanter is an enormous downgrade for guarding big men, especially Joel Embiid. Kanter’s defensive real +/- was second-to-last among centers, only above Willy Hernangomez. To make matters worse, second-year player Robert Williams is out with a concussion for Wednesday’s game. The Celtics are going to have a tough time containing Joel Embiid. 

I’m not a fan of Carsen Edwards; I just don’t see him becoming an outstanding NBA player due to his lack of size and defensive mobility. However, he has an insane heat check, and once his shots start falling, it’s almost impossible to stop. He went off for eight threes in a quarter in a Celtics preseason game.

This game is also the first matchup between Philly and Boston since Marcus Smart got ejected for shoving Joel Embiid. These two teams don’t like each other on the court, and it will be interesting to see if another scuffle breaks out.

Besides the outcome, arguably the biggest question coming in is whether or not Ben Simmons will hit a three. The Boston Celtics notably chose not to guard Simmons on the perimeter during the 2017 playoffs, putting pressure on him to shoot. Simmons has heard all the critics and supposedly improved his shot. He made one in a preseason game, as well. However, I won’t believe it until I see it; Simmons has to be confident enough to take the shots in regular-season games. 

Game Info 

Date: October 23, 2019

Start time: 7:30 p.m. EST

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Stadium: Wells Fargo Center

TV Info: ESPN

Betting Odds 

Point Spread: PHI -5 (-105) | BOS +5 (-109)

Moneyline: PHI: (-225) | BOS: (+185)

Over/Under: 214.5: (-105)

Having poached Al Horford to their roster, the 76ers come in as a five-point favorite. 

Prediction:

In short, I think both these rosters are great defensively, and this game will be relatively low-scoring. Joel Embiid has a great matchup against Enes Kanter, and I see him putting up 30 and 10 (at least). Ben Simmons may struggle, as he often does against Boston, and I don’t see him attempting a three on this big of a national stage. However, the Sixers’ defense will clamp down on the Celtics’ offense and come away with a win. 

Final Score: 76ers 96, Celtics 90  

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