The Celtics can win because…
Their opponent doesn’t inspire much of any confidence – even in home games. The 76ers have won only eight times at home, which is the second-lowest total of any team in a weak Eastern Conference. The Sixers bolted out of the gate but quickly cooled off and now look like the frail, feeble team everyone expected them to be before the season began. The Sixers are by far the worst defensive team in all of basketball. They’re one of only two teams that gives up an average of more than 104 points per game, but that’s not the whole of it. Philadelphia concedes 109.9: that’s roughly four full points per game more than the second-worst defensive team in the NBA (106.1). When a team is that bad on defense, even a mediocre offense such as the one Boston has (94.6 points scored per game) can do some damage.
Boston allows under 99 points per game and can shut down a Philly attack that scores 101 points per game. They’re offense will do just fine, so take them with your NBA picks.
The 76ers can win because…
Their horrible defense might not be exposed by the Celtics’ struggling offense. Yes, Boston beat Orlando on Super Bowl Sunday but the point to realize there is that Boston beat Orlando: the second-worst team in the NBA next to the Milwaukee Bucks. They’ve still lost seven of its last 10 games and are only 6-18 away from home.
The Celtics, as mentioned above, don’t have much of an offense. More to the point, since Rajon Rondo came back from an injury, nothing has really changed for this team – certainly not for the better. If there is a pervasive feeling around the NBA that the Sixers are tanking in order to get a better draft pick, the same expectation exists in Boston and roughly to the same extent. Since Philadelphia gets this game at home with Boston out of its comfort zone, the Sixers might be able to break through this time and cover for your NBA picks.
Outlook & Pick
This feels like a very even game. The weaknesses on both sides are quite pronounced. Yet, the Sixers have home-court advantage against a bad road team. That’s probably enough to tip the scales in Philadelphia’s direction on the NBA odds.Pick: 76ers +2 at Bodog