76ers continue homestand with matchup against red-hot Celtics
The Celtics come into this matchup riding high on an eight-game win streak. That streak gives Boston a 33-25 record, putting them only two games back of the 76ers. Boston currently holds the sixth spot in the East standings, as a gap between the top-four spots in the conference begins to form.
The 76ers currently sit at 34-22 on the year, good for the fourth spot in the standings. They are currently two-and-a-half games out of the top spot in the East, and look to build positive momentum heading into the All-Star break.
James Harden Debut Delayed
Despite reports that James Harden might suit up for Tuesday’s contest, the 76ers have decided to delay the debut of the former MVP until post All-Star break. Harden has participated in Sixers practices since his arrival, but it looks like the hamstring isn’t fully back to normal and the team wants to air on the side of caution.
In his introductory press conference, Harden made it a point to say despite his desire to play, it was a collective decision to shut him down until after the All-Star break. The All-Star guard noted his hamstring feels “really good” and he is working his way back conditioning-wise for his debut post All-Star Break.
- James Harden (out)
Understanding the Celtics Win Streak
While winning eight straight games for any team is a big accomplishment, it is important to gauge how the opponents during the stretch stack up. Much like the lighter schedule in January for the 76ers, many of these opponents for Boston aren’t top-tier NBA talent. You’ve got wins against the Pelicans, Magic, Pistons, Hawks, and Nets without any of their big three. There are big wins like a 30-point thumping of the Heat, yet even there you see Miami was down multiple starters.
Limit Jayson Tatum
While this win-streak should be taken with a grain of salt, the Celtics certainly have a couple guys playing at a high level. Jayson Tatum is averaging 25.7 points a game, the 10th best mark in the league currently, and dropped 38 points on the Hawks last Sunday. While his shooting is far from efficient (43 percent from the field over last six games), Tatum has completely taken over games during this stretch, and will demand attention from the 76ers’ defense.
Thybulle was able to hold Tatum to 5-14 shooting for 17 points the last time these two matched up, and will need a similar type of performance on the defensive end. The 24-year-old is coming off a career-high six steals, and looks to be locked in on that side of the floor.
Young Guys Must Step Up
I am going to sound like a broken record, but with Harden not hitting the hardwood until post All-Star break, the young guys need to help facilitate offense. Whether that is through Isiah Joe shooting the triple at a high rate or Paul Reed embracing the “energy guy” role, the bench has to pick up for Embiid, Maxey, and Harris in these final two games.
Tonight’s odds brought to you by Parx Sportsbook, the official gambling partner of The Liberty Line.
|Boston Celtics||-129||-2 (-112)||O 209.5 (-112)|
|Philadelphia 76ers||+107||+2 (-110)||U 209.5 (-109)|
Mandatory Credit: Chris Szagola.