While there are still eight regular-season games left to play before the NBA standings are final, there’s currently a strong chance the Sixers will be squaring off against the Boston Celtics in round one. With Boston in the third seed and Philly holding down the sixth seed, another playoff series between the old rivals seems inevitable.
The Philly Sports Network Sixers’ team is taking the time to evaluate how each of the key players has performed against the bitter rival. To start off, Fellow Sixers’ writer David Esser wrote about how Ben Simmons performs against the Celtics. Next came Joel Embiid, and now it’s time to analyze Tobias Harris’ play.
Tobias Harris is easily one of the most underrated guys on the Sixers’ roster. He quietly puts up points night in and night out. Despite many fans starting to call for him to be put into a trade package, the Sixers would miss Harris’ play more than many fans realize.
This does not change against Boston, either.
Career regular season stats v. Boston: 28 games, 32.2 minutes, 15.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists
For his career, Tobi averages 15.9 points per game, exemplifying how he isn’t far off for his career against the Celtics. However, 22 of his career games have come as a member of a different team. As a member of the Sixers, Tobi actually boasts a 5-1 individual record. His 15.8 points per game sit right at his career average.
Something that stands out the most in his games against the Celtics is his three-point shooting percentage. For his career, he is 39 for 109 against Boston, for an average of 36%. He is a career 8 for 26 while shooting beyond the arc against the C’s as a Sixer. However, that includes a 0-6 skid that he faced in his only loss against them with Philly. If you take that out, he becomes 8 for 20 (40%) in his five wins against them. This not only displays his above-average shooting when relied on against his new rival but how the team relies on his shooting to beat them.
Tobias Harris is obviously not a man known for his defense. However, against Boston, he stands his ground. He picked up 15 rebounds (14 defensive) against Boston, which is his highest while in Philly. In terms of scoring defense, though, Tobi sits at a mediocre 110 defensive rating against Boston. His 20 career steals and 12 career blocks sit among some of his highest totals against any teams, though, which is promising.
Tobias Harris has never played against the Celtics in the playoffs. It’s obvious that his role became much more important after joining Philly and going on to sign a max contract. Harris will likely be the most crucial piece in the Sixers making a playoff run. Assuming Ben and Joel are doing their part, it’ll come down to Tobias’ ability to score and play the way he typically does: under the radar.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Avid Philly fan and future educator
Student at Stockton University