Tuesday, October 16 at 8:00 PM ET
Two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference clash to open the new NBA season when the Philadelphia 76ers visit the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.
After finishing with an impressive 52-30 record last season, the 76ers are expected to continue being one of the top up-and-coming teams in the league. This team is very exciting and talented and it all starts with their young superstars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, who had a lot to do with their success.
Embiid and Simmons established a major foundation for the 76ers going forward but a big key to their future will be getting the same consistency that power forward Dario Saric gave them last season and the development of the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft Markelle Fultz, who missed most of the season with a right shoulder injury and struggled with his shot when he did play. This team is headed in the right direction but they missed two key contributors in Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli and they weren't able to make major acquisitions in the offseason.
The Celtics are about to go through an intriguing re-introduction process and the level of talent they posses when healthy along with the luxury of having one of the best head coaches in the league means that's it's NBA Finals or bust for this team. LeBron James is now in the Western Conference and even with Kawhi Leonard teaming up with Kyle Lowry in Toronto, the Celtics having their original team from last season in one piece makes the team to beat in the East.
Rookie Jayson Tatum, second-year forward Jaylen Brown and backup point guard Terry Rozier all played major roles last season, particularly in the playoffs and having their best two players back gives this team an extremely deep bench that could be the difference in this game.
The Philadelphia 76ers are:
1-4 ATS in their last five games overall
1-4 ATS in their last five games against Eastern Conference opponents
1-4 ATS in the last five meetings with the Celtics
1-4 ATS in the last five meetings in Boston
The Boston Celtics are:
19-7 ATS in their last 26 home games
12-4 ATS in their last 16 games following a straight up loss
This game will come down to experience and health. The 76ers won 52 games with their young core last season but the Celtics took the regular season series 3-1 and knocked them out of the playoffs 4-1 without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
Philadelphia has a lot of talent with Embiid, Simmons, Fultz and Saric but they didn't replace the shooting that Ilyasova and Belinelli provided and not having shooters to surround Ben Simmons until he develops a more consistent mid-range game will hurt them against the Celtics, who will be fully healthy with the same team that took LeBron James and the Cavaliers to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals while short-handed, plus Irving and Hayward. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these two teams and playing in front of a raucous TD Garden crowd gives a huge edge to the Celtics.
NBA Pick: Celtics -4.5 (-110) at Jazz Sports