London Calling: Celtics & 76ers ‘Clash’ in England Matinee

nba london

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 2:32 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 2:32 PM UTC

Anyone for some bangers, mash and basketball Thursday afternoon? The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers square off in London with a 3 p.m. ET tipoff on NBATV.

Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ersFree NBA Pick: CelticsBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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The Celtics and 76ers get things started from the O2 Arena in London on Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern time (8 p.m. local) on NBATV – both teams have a handful of international players but none from England, which isn’t exactly a basketball hotbed.

It’s the eighth NBA regular-season game in the capital of the United Kingdom and maybe the best matchup of them all with Boston a legitimate title contender and Philadelphia a team on the rise with two of the league’s future superstars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Both teams have played in the UK before: the Celtics a London preseason game in 2007 vs. Minnesota, and the 76ers a 2013 preseason game vs. the Thunder in Manchester. Last year’s London game was as snoozer as the Nuggets blew out the Pacers 140-112.

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🇬🇧 British or Not, Pt. II 🚫

More UK trivia for the guys before Thursday’s game. #NBALondon 🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/aXfJ1cHaRa

— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) January 9, 2018
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This is technically a 76ers home game. They have not fared well in the series thus far in 2017-18. Boston ruined Philly’s home opener on Oct. 20, 102-92. The C’s snapped a tie game with an 11-4 run late in the fourth quarter. Kyrie Irving had 21 points and Al Horford 17. Embiid struggled for Philly, going just 4-for-11 for 11 points. He did have 14 rebounds. Simmons added 11 points, 11 assists and five steals.

On Nov. 30 in Boston, the Celtics won 108-97. Irving had 36 points and Horford 21 points and eight boards. Dario Saric led Philadelphia with 18 points. It was the third game in four nights for the 76ers, so Embiid sat out.

Mini-Bye Week For Both

With all the travel, etc., both teams were on an extended break before this game and will be after. Boston (33-10 SU, 26-15-2 ATS) was last in action Saturday in Brooklyn and won a sixth straight, 87-85. Rookie Jayson Tatum put the Celtics up for good on a monster dunk with 1:16 to go. He added a 3-pointer on the next possession and finished with 14 points, six rebounds and six blocks.

Remember, the 76ers could have taken Tatum – who is shooting 46.2 percent from long range -- with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft instead of Markelle Fultz, who remains out (but could return next week). Boston played the Nets without Horford due to a left calf injury, but he practiced on Tuesday and will play Thursday. That moves Aron Baynes back to the bench where he belongs.

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Philadelphia (19-19 SU, 21-16-1 ATS) returned to .500 on Friday for the first time since mid-December with a 114-78 home destruction of Detroit. It was Philly’s fourth straight victory and largest margin of victory since beating the Mavericks 116-74 on March 17, 2017. The Pistons only had 32 points at the half, the fewest the Sixers have allowed in a first half since 32 to Miami on Nov. 21, 2015.

Embiid had 23 points, his fifth game in a row with at least 20. He’s dealing with some back soreness and a swollen right hand but says he will play in London. It's Philadelphia's only game this week. Simmons had 19 points and nine rebounds vs. Detroit and is the only player in NBA history (records date to 1963-64) to have 627 points, 276 assists and 310 rebounds through his first 37 games of his career. Where they find these numbers, I have no idea. Philly’s best starting lineup this season has been Simmons, Embiid, Dario Saric, Robert Covington and J.J. Redick. That group is 12-7.

For whatever reason, the 76ers don’t like Thursdays as they have failed to cover their past six on the day. Boston has covered 11 of its past 15 after an ATS loss. With Embiid perhaps not 100 percent, the Celtics are the NBA pick.

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