Boston (25-10) will be playing in the second game of a back-to-back after getting blown out by the Spurs at home on Wednesday night. It’s the second straight loss for the Celtics, both coming to sub.-500 teams. Kemba Walker was ejected from the game for cursing at an official. Jayson Tatum missed all five of his three-point attempts and scored just 14 points in the loss. Tatum is averaging 15.5 points over the last two games after scoring 24 or more in six of the previous nine. The Celtics are ranked 2nd in the NBA in scoring defense (104.3) and seventh in field-goal defense (44.0%).
Philadelphia (24-14) will be without star center Joel Embiid who is sidelined with a dislocated left ring finger. The 76ers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 120-113 win over the Thunder on Monday night. Josh Richardson led the way with 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting. All four Sixers starters scored at least 13 points in the victory. Philadelphia also recorded 31 assists and improved to 9-1 this season when recording 30 or more. The Sixers lead the league in rebounds per game (40.7) and are second in free-throw percentage (73.8%). Philadelphia’s defense ranks fourth in field goal percentage (47.1%).
ESPN’s FPI gives Philadelphia a 60.1% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Thursday’s matchup between the Celtics and 76ers.
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Celtics vs. Sixers Game Details
Date: Thursday, January 9
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: Wells Fargo Center (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
TV: TNT, NBCS Philadelphia, TSN5
Spread: Sixers -2.5
- PG Robert Williams (hip) out
- SG Romeo Langford (illness) questionable
- C Vincent Poirier (finger) out
- SG Matisse Thybulle (knee) questionable
- C Joel Embiid (finger) out
- Celtics are 25-9 SU and 20-12-2 ATS this season
- 76ers are 24-14 SU and 19-18-1 ATS this season
- Under 20-14 in Celtics games this season
- Over is 19-18-1 in 76ers games this season
Analysis & Pick
I think there is turmoil brewing in Boston. The Celtics have looked really bad offensively over their past two games and got blown out on their home floor on Wednesday night against the Spurs. There is also trouble brewing in the locker room, as Jaylen Brown recently called out the coaching staff and defended former teammate Kyrie Irving.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia will be without Joel Embiid, who will miss an undisclosed amount of time with a gruesome finger injury suffered earlier this week. The injury isn’t serious, but the Sixers will need to pick up the slack on both ends. Luckily for Philadelphia, they are one of the deepest and most balanced teams in the Eastern Conference.
This will be a reunion game for Al Horford, who spent three seasons with the Celtics. The veteran forward is shooting a career-worst 45.3 percent from the field while averaging 12.3 points, which would be his lowest mark since the 2008-09 campaign. Despite that downswing, I think Horford could perk up against his former team. Philadelphia has won three straight in this series, and I think they are a good bet to make it four in a row.
PICK: Sixers -2.5
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith