By Josh Landsburg, Sports Talk Philly staff
Tip-off: 8:00 pm ❖ Location: Boston, MA ❖ TV: TNT ❖ Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic, 97.3 ESPN
The third-seeded Philadelphia 76ers head into Monday night playing their first second-round playoff series since 2012 when they last faced the now Boston Celtics. This time, the Sixers hope it will be a much different result.
For the second-seed Celtics, losing Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving took a toll on how good this team can be this season, but losing guard Jaylen Brown in Game 1 hurts just as much.
The Celtics are going to be without a lot of their key players that would provide an answer to the matchups that both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons possess.
Game 1 is going to be a heated battle between what the Process brings to the table and having home court in Boston for this series.
It all starts on Monday night.
Sixers to Faceoff Against Hated Rival Celtics
Well, the Sixers beat the Heat in five to earn the right to rest while they awaited their matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics, a series that went seven games. The home team won every game in that series, and for the Sixers to win against the Celtics in round two that cannot happen as the Sixers will start on the road. Therefore, it will be the goal of the Sixers to win at least one of the first two games to steal back home court advantage. This is a phenomenal matchup. Both teams are very similar in that they have a great mixture of youth and some experience to go with it too. Even without Boston’s two best players in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Celtics are still a formidable opponent.
The Celtics have Terry Rozier and Jayson Tatum as their young guns to go along with an Al Horford as the wily veteran. And the Sixers, of course, have Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid as their two young stars to go along with J.J. Redick in the starting lineup and other key reserves. Both teams are well coached, can run on you, and play great defense. This will be a much tougher test for the Sixers then the Miami Heat. For the Sixers to win they will have to run as much as possible, win the turnover battle, and win the rebounding battle. If the Sixers can do that they should fair well in this series. Prediction: Sixers in six.
Philly vs. Boston Again
Well, the Eagles beat the New England Patriots in the Superbowl and now the Sixers are facing off against the Boston Celtics in Round two of the playoffs. Now, the stakes are not nearly as high for the Sixers than they were for the Eagles, but they are still pretty high. The last time the Sixers faced the Celtics in the playoffs, they took them to seven games in a very exciting series. Could Philly beat Boston twice in the same year? That would be exciting. Karma is in the air. Do I smell a Phillies-Red Sox World Series as well? Could Philly complete the trifecta? I’m getting ahead of myself though. Let’s focus on this series. It is exciting to be going up against the hated Boston Celtics, as there is so much history, most of it not good for Philly.
History Not on Philly’s Side
The Sixers and Celtics have faced each other more in the postseason than any other two teams in all of basketball. 18 times to be exact. The Celtics are 12-6 in those series. You can go back to the 60’s when it was Bill Russell against Wilt Chamberlain and the 80’s when it was Dr. J against Larry Bird. The Celtics have the edge when you talk about history, but this is a new era in Philadelphia, and in many ways history does not matter when you talk about the two teams of the present. Boston-Philly is basketball royalty though, and I’m glad to see it back, and probably around for many years to come with what both these teams futures hold.
This will be a great matchup to watch. The young superstar in Joel Embiid going up against the experienced veteran in Al Horford. Horford had a great series against the Bucks, but he is going up against a whole different level of player in Embiid than what the Bucks had to offer. Embiid is phenomenal defensively and Horford will have to make a lot of adjustments on the offensive end. In terms of defending Embiid, that will be a challenge too. Advantage: Embiid
Brett Brown vs. Brad Stevens
This is a great matchup between one of the best young coaches in the game in Stevens, and another coach who got a ton of experience under Gregg Popovich and who grew with this team from the very bottom of 10 wins to 52 wins this past year. Brown finally had the talent and pieces all in place this year, and you saw what he was able to do. This is a tough call, but I have to give the slight edge to Stevens. It is very close though. I think that Stevens has gotten so much out of his young guys and the fact that he was able to win a series without his two best players says a lot about his coaching style. Brown is very good too with the way he gets his team to run and defend and pass; it is remarkable. However, as an objective viewer from afar, I have to give Stevens the edge. It will be great to watch this chess match throughout the series.
|Game 1 Preview | April 30, 2018|