Game Preview: Can the Sixers sweep Celtics for the first time in almost 20 years?

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The 76ers are in Boston tonight with the chance to accomplish something they haven’t done since the 2000-2001 season. Undefeated against the Celtics this season, the Sixers have a chance to sweep the season series. The Celtics have been a thorn in the Sixers’ side for years now and while both teams are playoff contenders, the Sixers seem to have the edge this year.

Boston is not the easiest location to play in and the Sixers struggle with consistency on the road. Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter are officially out for tonight’s match-up but that doesn’t mean the Sixers can just coast to a win. The Celtics are a tough opponent with quality scorers so being down a couple of pieces doesn’t mean they’re out. Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown will look to lead the push against the Sixers. If Philadelphia is going to pull of a win they need to make sure they’re working efficiently together.

Keys to the game

Play Through Your Stars

The Sixers will have two major match-ups in their favor tonight. With Kemba Walker out, Ben Simmons will not need to put as much effort into his defense which will mean more energy for offense. Simmons can push the ball, drive, and work his way into the post without being drained from defending Walker. Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown will do all they can to slow him down as they’re all strong defenders. Even if they succeed though, the Sixers will have a big-time backup plan.

In steps one of the most dominant big-men in all of basketball, Joel Embiid. With both Kanter and Robert Williams out, the Celtics are thin when it comes to post defense. More than ever Embiid must work the ball down low for easy buckets and foul opportunities. Embiid has a chance to have a monster night with the lack of defenders in Boston, he needs to take full advantage while he can.

Get the Bench Going

In their most recent loss, the Sixers’ bench scored a measly 14 points. The must be a better effort shown tonight or the Sixers may lose yet again. The pressure needs to be on Furkan Korkmaz first and foremost though, with Al Horford returning tonight (assuming he’s starting), Shake Milton should have every opportunity to impact the game from the bench.

Milton is coming off a career night against the Atlanta Hawks. In that game, Milton scored 27 points, grabbed five rebounds, and six assists. A beyond encouraging sign, Milton made himself known and should be a part of the game-plan for the foreseeable future.

Mike Scott is also coming off of a good game which unfortunately is a rarity this season. I still believe Scott has the ability to be a playoff contributor, he just needs to find his flow. Tonight could be a great chance for him to have his first back-to-back good games in what feels like forever.

Prediction:

The Sixers actually have the chance to sweep the Celtics, maybe you can put an injury asterisk next to it but a sweep is a sweep. I expect the Sixers to leave Boston with one more in the win column.

FINAL SCORE: Philadelphia 113 – Boston 109

Tip-off is at 8:30 PM EST and you can catch the game on ABC or if you like, listen on 97.5 FM the Fanatic.

Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

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