The Tip-Off: Expect the Sixers to bring the noise in home opener


The Tip-Off is an opinion column that was created to provide pregame and postgame analysis. All columns are encouraged to be debated.

The Philadelphia 76ers are back.

They begin their season home at Wells Fargo Center, tipping off against Eastern Conference rival Boston Celtics at 7:30 p.m. EST. You can catch the game on both NBC Sports Philadelphia and ESPN with pregame coverage starting at 6:30 p.m. EST. on NBC Sports Philadelphia.

The Sixers are 6-point favorites over the Celtics, with an over/under of 215.5.

What can we expect out of the Sixers?

The Intensity

The Philadelphia 76ers are finally back. After a long-awaited offseason of anticipation building after a season crushing buzzer-beater in game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals, our team is ready to rumble.

After years of success at home, I expect the Sixers to continue that trend. Last season, this team won SEVENTY-FIVE percent of their home games (Yes- 75%!). Home court advantage is real in Philadelphia, and the team knows this. With a probable sold-out crowd craving a winning team after a let-down Phillies season, poor Eagles game Sunday, and a lethargic start for the Flyers, the Sixers are expected to feed into the energy. Expect MVP candidate Joel Embiid to come out and hype the crowd up even more, and to hear Wells Fargo Center from miles away.

The Defense

The Sixers are a high scoring team. Last season, they averaged 114.4 points per game, with a 117.9 average at home. However, they were a poor defensive team. Last season, they allowed an average of 111.6 points per game, with a home average of 109.6. Ranking 4th in the league for scoring, they ranked 17th in the league in points against. General Manager Elton Brand knew he needed to lock down the backcourt.

I fully expect this Sixers team to live up to the defensive hype. In a previous article, I highlighted the analytics of the predicted team’s defense.

In layman’s terms – they’re going to be good.

With the Celtics boasting a brand new lineup, the main change being Kemba Walker replacing Kyrie Irving at the one, I still do not see them being a big challenge for the Sixers this year. Sure- the rivalry will live to see another season, but with Al Horford now in a Sixers jersey, the Celtics do not have anyone who can guard Embiid. We have two or three guys who can guard every position. This defense is going to be special, borderline (franchise) historic.

Who to watch:

Mattise Thybulle

All the headlines you see are talking about this kid. I am 100% on the Thybulle bandwagon. I expect him to make his NBA debut tomorrow night, and make a defensive impact. His shooting may be off due to some first-game jitters, but if he doesn’t have a few takeaways and blocks, I’d be surprised. Keep an eye on the rookie after a stellar preseason, where he was one of the leaders in both blocks and steals in the entire NBA.

The Opponent

This Boston Celtics team is one a bit different than the one we followed last year. They lost starters Kyrie Irving (Nets) and Al Horford (Sixers) to free agency in the summer. However, they were able to bring in “Cardiac” Kemba Walker.

A couple of other notable transactions:

ADDED: Carsen Edwards (Purdue), Tacko Fall (UCF), Javonte Green (Ulm), Enes Kanter (Portland), Romeo Langford (Indiana University), Vincent Poirier (Baskonia), Tremont Waters (LSU) and Grant Williams (Tennessee).

GONE: Aron Baynes (Phoenix), PJ Dozier (Denver), Jonathan Gibson, Al Horford (Philadelphia), RJ Hunter (Turk Telekom), Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn), Marcus Morris (New York), Terry Rozier (Charlotte) and Guerschon Yabusele (Nanjing).

The Celtics are still going to be a problem for the Sixers. I fully expect them to follow the Sixers as #2 in the Atlantic division. However, I think their lineup will not match up well against ours, and we will dominate them the entire 2019-2020 season.

Game Prediction

I fully expect the home-court advantage to be a key factor in this one. The Sixers will continue their dominance at Wells Fargo Center and top the Celtics to start the season 1-0. My final score prediction: 121-113, Sixers.

Also: To help get hype for this game: please watch this video from one of my favorite Twitter follows, @DidTheSixersWin:

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports