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The NBA conference semifinals continue on Wednesday night with the spotlight fixed on TD Garden in Boston for Game 2 between the Celtics and 76ers. Boston has their work cut out for them after James Harden reminded the league what he’s capable of when his team’s offense runs through him.
The former MVP scored 45 points on 30 field goal attempts while dishing six assists in a big road win for Philadelphia, and the Celtics face a high-pressure situation at home again on Wednesday.
The absence of this year’s MVP, Joel Embiid, did not halt the Sixers’ momentum, but CBS Sports is reporting that Embiid will likely miss Game 2 as well. Boston is favored by nine in a game they’d love to win while facing an under-manned Philly starting lineup.
The Celtics outrebounded the 76ers 38 to 28 but managed to lose on Monday despite shooting nearly 59% from the floor. They’ll look to salvage a game at home before traveling to Philadelphia on Friday for Game 3.
Our playoff props finished 4-2 last week, and we’re eager to continue those winning ways. Tonight’s best bets for Game 2 in Boston are just ahead.
Brown scored 23 points Monday night despite attempting ten shots, his lowest total this postseason. Boston, as a team, attempted 14 fewer field goals than Philadelphia, but Brown’s output was so efficient he nearly got to this number anyway.
The two-time All-Star averaged 37.7 minutes and 26.7 points per game in the Celtics’ six-game series win against Atlanta, which makes this Game 1 against the Sixers even more of an anomaly.
Monday was the second game of Brown’s career in which he played 40+ minutes and attempted ten or fewer field goals. Interestingly, the only other instance happened in December 2019 when the Celtics hosted… the Philadelphia 76ers. We expect Boston’s second-leading scorer to pour in 25+ points on Wednesday night.
This is another opportunity to take advantage of the Embiid-less 76ers’ frontcourt with a proven commodity in Horford. The Florida Gator legend has secured six or more rebounds in 26 of his last 30 postseason games dating back to the start of last year’s playoffs and has done so in five of seven games this year.
His floor time has been inconsistent in those first seven contests, varying from more than 38 minutes in Game 1 against Atlanta to around 28.5 minutes in Game 3 of that first-round series. Additionally, Horford’s rebounding average per 36 minutes fell to 7.3 this season, the lowest in his long career and something we’re accounting for before making this play.
Despite that downward trend this season, we expect Horford’s playoff history to be a leading indicator of Wednesday’s result and will play the over on his rebounds.
Harris averaged 20.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in Philadelphia’s first-round sweep of Brooklyn this season, by far his best performance in those two areas over the last two postseasons.
It’s his most prolific series statistically since he led the Sixers in scoring (25 ppg) and averaged ten rebounds during their series win against the Wizards in 2021.
The Celtics are inarguably a more difficult challenge than Bradley Beal’s Wizards or a young Nets team this season. Still, Harris has been a consistent second-scoring option for Philly while Embiid has been on and off the floor. We like Harris to continue that resurgence on both ends of the floor tonight.