NBA

Celtics-76ers Game 3 Betting Odds, Preview, and Predictions | FanDuel Sportsbook

The Boston Celtics are in Philadelphia tonight taking on the 76ers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Boston tied the series 1-1 on Wednesday, blowing out the Sixers 121-87 in Joel Embiid’s return to game action. According to FanDuel Sportsbook, the Celtics are 2.5-point favorites.

Spread: Boston Celtics -2.5

O/U: 214.5 points

ML: Celtics -142, 76ers +120

Featured Parlay:

Injury Reports

There are no new injuries, though the comfort of Joel Embiid and Marcus Smart will be worth monitoring. Embiid wore a knee brace in Game 2, still feeling the effects of his LCL sprain sustained in round one. Smart, meanwhile, rushed to the locker room after taking the full weight of an Embiid fall on his right shoulder. He later returned to the game, and though he’s feeling sore, he should play today.

Celtics Projected Starters

PG: Marcus Smart

SG: Derrick White

SF: Jaylen Brown

PF: Jayson Tatum

C: Al Horford

76ers Projected Starters

PG: James Harden

SG: Tyrese Maxey

SF: Tobias Harris

PF: PJ Tucker

C: Joel Embiid

Boston Celtics Overview

On both ends of the floor, the Celtics made their mark at the three point line. They took twice as many threes as they did in Game 1, and went ballistic in the 3rd quarter, shooting 7/14 (excluding a half court heave from Malcolm Brogdon at the buzzer). It was on defense, though, where the team really impressed. Boston clamped down Philadelphia’s shooters, forcing the Sixers to shoot 1/13 from deep in the first half and 6/30 overall. If Joel Embiid isn’t 100% on offense going forward, it’s imperative the Celtics keep this intensity up night in and night out. By keeping the rest of the Sixers out of rhythm and unable to answer when a big three is hit on the other end, Boston can quickly demoralize the Philadelphia offense.

The team got a great all around effort, but what’s most notable is who didn’t have a good night. Jayson Tatum, who was in foul trouble for most of the game, recorded just 7 points. In spite of that, the C’s still won by 34 thanks to a few key pieces stepping up. Two role players in particular had really nice performances: Derrick White and Grant Williams. White, who’s been key for Boston all season long, rebounded following a rough Game 1, dropping 15 points on 5/9 shooting. Williams, in the most action he’s seen this postseason, had a very encouraging 12 points on 50% from three to pair with strong defense on Joel Embiid. If the Celtics can get these kinds of games from their whole rotation, the Sixers will be unable to answer and the Celtics won’t need to rely on their stars.

Philadelphia 76ers Overview

The big storyline in Game 2 was Joel Embiid’s return, and all-in-all, he was fine. His offense left a lot to be desired, but he got to the line with ease and made a big impact on defense, racking up 5 blocks by the end of the first half. The team around him, however, really disappointed. Starting with the defense, Philadelphia let Boston take 27 wide open threes, meaning on over half of Boston’s attempts from deep, there wasn’t a defender within 6 feet of the shooter. Boston’s ball movement gives lots of teams problems, but this has to get cleaned up in Game 3 if the Sixers want any chance, especially considering the Celtics only hit 37% of those shots. The 34-point difference easily could’ve been worse.

On top of that, Philadelphia simply can’t win with that kind of game from James Harden. Harden, who shot 2/14 and finished with 12 points, still needs to be the one running the offense. Embiid was clearly bothered by his knee brace, and it’s unclear whether he’ll return to form in Game 3 or struggle for the rest of the series. There are a few areas where Harden can drastically improve, one being the midrange. He went to work there in Game 1, shooting 5/8, but took just two attempts in Game 2. The Sixers don’t need 45 out of him again, but a better offensive game from Harden will have the team looking much stronger throughout the night.

Prediction

Expecting another 34-point victory would be foolish, but the Celtics made a statement in Game 2 that they’re done messing around. With the combination of Embiid not at full strength, the Celtics turning up their defense, and the Celtics’ role players making a huge impact in their minutes, it’s going to be really tough for the Sixers to regain control of this series. They’ll be energized at home and Embiid should look less rusty on offense, so I don’t think the Celtics will put this away as easily. Still, I have confidence the Celtics take a 2-1 series lead tonight.

Boston Celtics 116, Philadelphia 76ers 106

Henry Bova

Henry is a journalism student at Northeastern University covering the Celtics and Patriots for CLNS.

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