Our Friday NBA playoffs preview highlights Game 2 between the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals, along with tips for all other matches being played today.
12:30 (AEST), Fri 4th May @ TD Garden, Boston
History: Played 545: Celtics 313 V 76ers 232.
Last meeting: April 30, 2018: Celtics 117 d 76ers 101 at TD Garden.
Final Thoughts: The surging Philadelphia 76ers were brought down a peg by the Boston Celtics in the series opener at TD Garden. Now Simmons, Embiid and co. must square the ledger before the Eastern Conference semis head back to Philly.
The Celtics won every quarter to skip away to a 117-101 victory in Game 1 as Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford all put up 26-plus points. Joel Embiid was a powerhouse for the beaten Sixers, racking up 31 points, 13 rebounds and five assists as the Celtics employed single coverage defence on the big man.
It was a reality check for Philadelphia after they won their last 16 regular-season games and breezed past the Heat 4-1 in the first round.
The Celtics limped into the playoffs with just two wins in their last six regular-season outings and eventually put the Bucks away in seven games, but they look battle-hardened.
Despite the 16-point margin in the opening clash – the Sixers’ biggest loss since Christmas – the visitors go into Game 2 as clear $1.50 favourites, giving up a 4.5 start to the Celtics.
Boston were red-hot from outside the arc in Game 1 while Philadelphia shot just 19 percent; if those numbers even out the 76ers will have a great chance of levelling the series. But the Celtics showed too much class to confidently back against them here, so we’re tipping a Game 2 cliff-hanger in Beantown.
|Cleveland Cavaliers V Toronto Raptors||Handicap – Cavaliers +6.5 @ $1.96|