NBA Playoffs Round 1: Sixers vs Celtics. Odds & Predictions
I can’t stress this enough: I do not believe that ANY team in the East wants to play a healthy 76ers team in the playoffs.
There’s so much uncertainly about what might be next for the NBA season. It’s currently suspended due to the worldwide pandemic we find ourselves in. Elton Brand, however, said yesterday that he remains hopeful for the season to return. If the season does return and immediately starts with the playoffs, the Sixers would face the Celtics in the first round.
Westgate SuperBook, in fact, released theoretical odds for all the playoff series that would take place if the 2019-20 season resumed and immediately went to a normal playoff format.
No favorite. Even money. I like the Sixers chances in advancing.
The Sixers won the regular season series 3-1 over Boston. This included a road win, which obviously were extremely hard to come by for the 10-24 traveling Sixers.
I’m well aware that the Sixers got killed during their last matchup against Boston in early February. Joel Embiid was awful that game and shot 1 of 11 from the floor. That doesn’t tell the story of how dominant he can be against the Celtics. I’d rather look at his 38 point, 13 rebound, 6 assist performance against the Celtics in December.
This series could be easily won by the 6th seeded Sixers as long as Embiid can work his way out of a double team and the rest of the team comes back focused, ready to play, in shape, and most importantly, healthy.
Home & Road:
Here’s where it get’s interesting. I feel like a broken record typing this, but the Sixers are 29-2 at home and 10-24 on the road. Assuming basketball does resume, it’s almost a fact that it will resume without fans present and at neutral locations.
Really not sure how any team will respond to playing with no fans. But let’s take a look at a playoff series with no “home court advantage”.
It would most likely help the Sixers “on the road” but would also hurt them “at home”. This Sixers team thrives in South Philadelphia and if you’ve ever been to a game, you certainly know why. The environment is filled with theatrics and a jam packed arena with hungry fans. Joel Embiid personally thrives off the energy.
I don’t think there is an advantage either way at neutral locations. Yet again, we’re back to no favorite.
Looking at a completely healthy Sixers, this is a team that was supposedly “built for the playoffs”. Boston should be concerned with the underperforming 6th seeded Sixers. I can’t help but think back to a completely healthy Sixers team against the Clippers right before the all-star break.
Clippers vs Sixers before the NBA All-Star Break gave us the team we hoped for: Embiid 26 pts, 9 reb. Simmons 26 pts, 10 ast, 12 reb. Harris 17 pts, 5 ast, 12 reb. Sixers won 110-103 and Joel Embiid was feeling it on both ends of the court. pic.twitter.com/cZSB1PhKrW
— The Liberty Line (@LibertyLinePHL) April 11, 2020
This team has showed signs of dominance all season long, but has failed to produce on the road. Another strong example of how good this team can be when healthy would be against the top seeded Bucks on Christmas.
— The Liberty Line (@LibertyLinePHL) April 5, 2020
Elton Brand stated that Ben Simmons is healthy, and that Ben & Joel have both been granted access to team facilities to train and stay in shape. Hopefully they are using this time off to do just that. Brett and his team have been planning as if they are going to be playing the Celtics as well.
To extend this a bit further, IF the Sixers beat the Celtics, they would face either the Raptors or Nets in the 2nd Round. Raptors in the 2nd round would be interesting. I would love for the revenge scenario after what happened last year. However, I’m pretty sure we’re only in the 2nd year of “The Last Dance” comparison. The Raptors might be the Detroit Pistons in this situation, a team that the Sixers just aren’t ready to take down…yet.