Celtics at 76ers Picks and NBA Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 3/5/2013
Some NBA coaches just aren't built to stay in one place for too long. You have the nomadic types like Larry Brown or the ultra-intense ones like Philadelphia's Doug Collins. There's no doubt that Collins is one of the best coaches in the NBA, but there's a reason he has yet to stay more than three years at one place in his NBA coaching career. Collins' teams always improve right after he gets there, but he's so intense that players start to tune him out by Year 3. That could be what's happening in Philadelphia this season.
Many thought the Sixers could be a legitimate Eastern Conference contender after acquiring Andrew Bynum in a four-team deal this past offseason for a package built around all-star Andre Iguodala and youngsters Moe Harkless and Nik Vucevic. Bynum was supposed to be the best center in the East with Dwight Howard landing in Los Angeles, but the deal has turned out to be a total bust for the Sixers. Bynum has yet to take the court because of knee problems and now it's pretty certain he won't play all season. Bynum recently had yet another setback and may undergo surgery. He doesn't sound in a hurry to get back as Bynum is a free agent after this year and doesn't want to risk his career. The Sixers, thus, will have to decide whether to offer the 25-year-old a max contract despite a potentially career-threatening knee problem.
Collins seems fed up with his team, which is No. 9 in the East and 6.5 games behind No. 8 Milwaukee. The playoffs clearly aren't going to happen. After an inexplicable 14-point home loss to wretched Orlando last Tuesday, Collins let his team have it publicly. He essentially questioned every players' effort, adding that "I gave my body to this franchise. I was never booed as a player." I would be shocked if Collins is back for a fourth season in 2013-14.
As for Boston, the Celtics are No. 7 in the West but just 1.5 games ahead of No. 8 Milwaukee. You know that no team wants to finish No. 8 and draw Miami in the first round of the playoffs. Finishing sixth or seventh would mean Boston could avoid the Heat until the conference finals presuming the C's can get there.
Celtics at 76ers Betting Story Lines
Philly ended a seven-game losing streak with a 104-97 home win over Golden State on Saturday but reverted to form with a 90-87 loss at Washington on Sunday, the 76ers' 10th straight road defeat. (That Warriors win is the only time this month the Sixers have scored in triple-digits.) Philadelphia has played the past two games without starting guard Nick Young, and he will sit this one out with an ankle injury. Royal Ivey has started the past two after barely playing the previous four games. Dorell Wright is getting the majority of Young's minutes and led the Sixers with 15 points against the Wizards.
The Celtics should be pretty fresh for this game as they only played twice last week and haven't taken the floor since a 94-86 win over Golden State on Friday, Boston's eighth straight home win. Paul Pierce led Boston with 26 even though he's pretty banged up. He's got a pinched nerve in his neck that won't get any better, but Pierce admits he will have to play through pain for the rest of the season. Coach Doc Rivers has told Pierce he can take a game or two off anytime he wants, but so far Pierce has declined to do so.
Boston made one trade before the deadline, getting Jordan Crawford from Washington, essentially to replace Leandro Barbosa's scoring off the bench (Barbosa went to Wizards). Crawford had a solid first game with 10 points but has six combined in the past three and is shooting 33.5 percent overall as a Celtic. One guy playing terrific off the bench for the C's is Jeff Green. He's averaging 16.3 points on 51.8 percent from the field in the past 10 games.
This is the final meeting with the Sixers leading 2-1 and looking to win consecutive season series against Boston for the first time since the start of the century. Philly has won four straight at home against the Celtics. On Nov. 9 in Boston, the Sixers won 106-100 behind 21 points and 14 assists from Jrue Holiday. On Dec. 7 in Philly, the 76ers won 95-94 in overtime despite a triple-double from Rajon Rondo. Evan Turner had one of his best games of the season for Philadelphia with 26 points and 10 rebounds. The next night in Boston, the Celtics won, 92-79, as Rondo barely missed another triple-double.
Celtics at 76ers Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, Boston is a 2.5-point favorite with the total at 184.5. The Celtics are 25-30-3 ATS this season (10-17-1 on road) and 28-29-1 “over/under” (14-14 on road). The Sixers are 27-31 ATS (16-16 at home) and 27-29-2 O/U (20-12 at home).
Boston is 8-2 ATS in its past 10 after a win. Celtics are 4-1 ATS in their past five playing on at least three days of rest. Philadelphia has covered six of its past eight at home vs. teams with a losing road record. The 76ers are 1-4 ATS in their past five following an ATS win. The under is 4-0 in Boston's past four after a win. The over is 4-1 in the past five meetings in Philly. Boston has covered just once in its past eight there.
Celtics at 76ers Picks and Betting Predictions
This one is tough because I do think the Sixers have mostly mailed it in, but they are usually pretty solid at home and Boston isn't very good on the road. This is the first time this season Philly will have seen Boston without Rondo but also the first time the Sixers will have to deal with Celtics defensive demon Avery Bradley. Teams are shooting just 42 percent against the C’s in the New Year largely thanks to Bradley, the best in the NBA over that stretch. I simply can't resist getting a point for Philly at home, however. Take the Sixers and the under.
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