Sixers vs Celtics: Betting preview, TV Schedule & best betting promos for game 2

Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey (0) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics forward Sam Hauser (30) during the first half of Game 1 in the NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series, Monday, May 1, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The Sixers are back in Boston for Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Semi-Finals series against the Boston Celtics after winning a dramatic Game 1, 119-115.

The Sixers were without Joel Embiid, who won the MVP award yesterday and the odds were stacked against them. But, thanks to James Harden’s 45 points and Paul Reed icing the game with four free-throws, the Sixers will be looking to build on a big win and could even have the MVP back in the lineup tonight.

Sixers vs Celtics game info

Who: Philadelphia 76ers (1-0) at Boston Celtics (0-1)
When: 8:00 pm EST
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
Watch: TNT

Sixers vs Celtics betting info

Spread: Sixers +8 | Celtics -8
Moneyline: Sixers +250 | Celtics -390
Points total: Over/Under217

Spotlight on the Sixers

The Sixers could head into Game 2 with a huge addition. After winning the NBA MVP award on Tuesday night, Embiid was reported to have told the team “I’m back”, hinting that he would be returning to play in the second game.

While the team could opt to keep Embiid out in order to prolong his recovery, the idea would be that having Embiid play could help the Sixers leave Boston up 2-0 in the series and put even more pressure on the Celtics heading into to Philadelphia.

Brooklyn Nets’ Cameron Johnson (2) dribbles the ball as Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid (21) defends in the first half during Game 1 in the first round of the NBA basketball playoffs, Saturday, April 15, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

With Embiid looking more and more likely to play, the pressure may be off of James Harden who responded to the MVP’s absence with a 45 point performance to lead the Sixers to their Game 1 victory. Harden shot 56.7% from the floor, 50% on his three-point attempts, and 100% from the foul line. (That’s only 4/4 because the refs decided that they wouldn’t be calling any fouls inside the paint.)

Paul Reed would move back to the bench but hey may not spend much time there. You can’t imagine that the Sixers will overwork Embiid and that should give a good number of minutes to Reed. He had 10 points, including the four free throws in the last minute of the game, and 13 rebounds while getting the starting nod in Game 1.

This is the Reed that fans have thought was always ready but didn’t really get the minutes on the floor. He’s exceeded expectations in his time, during these playoffs. In the last two games, both starts, Bball Paul has played 34.5 minutes and is averaging 10 points and 14 rebounds during those games. It’s a huge benefit to have him on the floor.

Finally, as if they’re an afterthought, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris both played well in Monday’s victory and the team will need more of that tonight. Maxey, who had a poor shooting night, finished with 26 points, including a huge steal and dunk toward the end of the game. Harris finished with 18 points and 5 rebounds on 50% shooting and 40% on his three-point attempts. If the Sixers are to take Game 2 from the Celtics, they’ll need Harris and Maxey to show up again, which shouldn’t be hard if Harden is able to spread the floor.

Spotlight on the Celtics

The Celtics came into Game 1 as the favorites, having the second-best regular season record in the NBA after a trip to the NBA Finals last season. The Hawks proved in their first-round series that the Celtics were not invincible.

With a true star in Jason Taytum, along with Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Malcolm Brogdon, the Celtics present the challenge of having to defend a team that has four players that could give you 30+ points on any given night. They move well, they shoot well, and they defend well. The Celtics shot over 70% from the field in the first half of Game 1.

Philadelphia 76ers forward Paul Reed (44) shoots over Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) during the first half of Game 1 in the NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series, Monday, May 1, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

A sloppy finish cost the Celtics a game that many thought would be a runaway victory. They were at home, favored by almost ten points, and the Sixers were without Joel Embiid. That should have added up to an easy Celtics victory. If they’re to win Game 2, especially with Embiid returning and the hype the Sixers will have surrounding that situation, they’re going to have to eliminate costly mistakes.

What to watch for tonight

There are two big things to keep an eye on in Game 2 tonight in Boston. The first is if Joel Embiid plays and how that affects the Sixers. The second is if the Celtics can get a victory and even up the series before heading to Philadelphia for the next two games.

If Joel Embiid truly is “back” and is starting for the Sixers, it’s a huge boost to the team. How much the Sixers will have Embiid on the court is a huge question mark. Given Doc Rivers’ history, it’s not strange to think that Embiid may see 36-38 minutes on the floor. The smart move, and Rivers has made quite a few of them this post-season, is that Embiid is given limited minutes and they try to ease him back into the game while making sure that Paul Reed is ready to step in when needed.

For the Celtics, they have to not do too much. After the way they played, for 47 minutes of Mondays game, they can be confident that they can win this game. Boston was easily able to score inside on the Sixers, as Embiid wasn’t in the low post, keeping the shooters away. Will that be the case tonight?

If you have a game where you shoot as well as the Celtics did, taking advantage of the defense or lack thereof, from the Sixers, and still can’t come out with a victory, that’s a problem. The Celtics will have a little revenge on their mind and have to make sure that they don’t try to overdo it while looking to even the series. With Embiid on the court, the inside won’t be as easy to score on and the outside looks may not be as clean.

Prediction: Sixers 111 – Celtics 114

AP Photo/Charles Krupa