NBA

Celtics-76ers Game 5 Betting Odds, Preview, and Predictions | FanDuel Sportsbook

The Boston Celtics are back home for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers. Boston mounted an impressive 4th quarter comeback in Game 4 and went to overtime, but executed their final possession too slow and lost 116-115. The series is now tied 2-2. According to FanDuel Sportsbook, the Celtics are 7.5-point favorites tonight.

Spread: Boston Celtics -7.5

O/U: 213 points

ML: Celtics -300, 76ers +245

Featured Parlay:

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

For most of Game 4, the Celtics were dreadful on offense. Still, they nearly completed the 16-point comeback thanks to a shift in their plan of attack. Led by Jayson Tatum, the Celtics started to dominate the paint, going hard to the basket no matter who was on the floor for Philadelphia. As a team, they shot 13-17 from in close in the 3rd and 4th quarter, which both put points on the board and established some rhythm. The Celtics will likely revert to shooting a lot of threes in Game 5 — and they’ll likely knock them down more consistently — but they showed they were undeterred by Embiid’s paint presence late in the game, something the Sixers have to respect going forward.

On defense, they need to make James Harden uncomfortable once again. In Games 2 and 3, the Celtics got wonderful defense from Jaylen Brown, who picked up Harden at full court and held him to a combined 0-8 from the field and 1 point when he was the primary defender. In Game 4, however, Harden came to play, and shot 50% while Brown was guarding him (en route to 42 points total on the day). Whether it’s Brown or other Celtics getting the Harden assignment early in Game 5, they have to pressure him and make him give the ball up. Maybe he won’t be held to the horrific numbers he put up earlier in the series, but without big scoring numbers, the Sixers could be in trouble.

Philadelphia 76ers Overview

Overtime drama aside, the story of the game was James Harden’s much needed return to form. After shooting a combined 5-28 and recording 28 points in the two prior games, Harden exploded for 42 points and the go ahead three in OT with 19.0 seconds remaining. The Sixers need him to score, but tonight, with Boston likely refocusing some defensive attention on him, they’ll need his playmaking most of all. When Harden recorded 11 assists or more in the regular season, the Sixers were 21-9. So far in the Playoffs, they’re 2-1. If Harden can get some shots to fall and set up his teammates, the Sixers don’t only have a better chance to win tonight, they have a much improved chance going forward.

In order for his assist numbers to increase, though, the rest of the team has to perform. Game 4 saw a drop off in production from the supporting cast. Everyone not named Joel Embiid or James Harden combined to shoot under 36% from the field and under 32% from three. The Sixers have gotten good single-game efforts from De’Anthony Melton and Georges Niang, but it’s time for Tyrese Maxey to step up and give the team a boost. Since Game 1, he’s averaging 13.3 points per game on 34% from the field and 31.6% from deep. In Game 4, the team was missing that extra scoring to put the lead out of reach late in the 3rd quarter. If Maxey gets it going tonight, maybe Philadelphia can hang on.

Prediction

With the series tied 2-2, the book on each team is out — now, it’s simply about who will step up and play harder. The 76ers have guys that will take on that challenge, but I think the Celtics will play intense all night long. They had a chance to basically put this series to rest in Philadelphia and they let it slip. Much like Game 2, I expect Boston to avenge that loss and regain control of the series once again.

Boston Celtics 111, Philadelphia 76ers 102

Henry Bova

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

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