Sixers vs Celtics: Betting preview, TV Schedule & best betting promos for Game 4

De'Anthony Melton
Boston Celtics’ Malcolm Brogdon, left, and Philadelphia Philadelphia 76ers’ De’Anthony Melton battle for the ball during the second half of Game 3 in an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series, Friday, May 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

In game three against the Boston Celtics, the Sixers fell short for a second consecutive game. They lost on their home floor at the Wells Fargo Center, 102-114 in a game that started with Joel Embiid receiving the NBA MVP Award. Can the Sixers tie up the series today in game four? What has to happen to even the series before going back to Boston?

Sixers vs Celtics game info

Who: Celtics @ Sixers (Boston leads series 2-1) 

When: Sunday, May 7th at 3:30 pm EST

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

How to watch: ESPN

How to listen: 97.5 The Fanatic

Sixers vs Celtics betting info per DraftKings

Spread: Sixers +2.5 | Celtics -2.5
Moneyline: Sixers +120 | Celtics -140
Points total: Over/Under 214.5

Sixers vs Celtics betting promos

Last time they met

The 76ers got a solid effort from Joel Embiid, who finished with 30 points, but nobody else really stepped up to help carry the offensive burden. The next highest scorer for Philly was James Harden with 16 points on 3-for-14 shooting. Tyrese Maxey also shot poorly, 25 percent on 16 shots, and Tobias Harris only made three field goals, mainly because he was in foul trouble. Boston, on the other hand, had no issues scoring.

Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, and Derrick White combined for six 3-pointers to start the game. By the end of the first half, the Celtics had four players in double figures. The Sixers only had Joel Embiid in double figures at intermission. 

The supporting cast for the 76ers was better in game three than game two. Georges Niang and De’Anthony Melton improved their scoring, combining for 24 points. Jalen McDaniels chipped in off the bench with 3 points, while Paul Reed went scoreless and didn’t attempt a shot. Usually, he brings a spark to the Sixers, but he was not as impactful as in recent games, securing only one rebound.

The biggest distinction in this game is that Boston was able to convert misses into baskets after offensive rebounds. Making the Sixers defense helplessly scramble with their precise ball movement, the Celtics would miss and regain possession with hustle plays that cost the Sixers in the long run. Boston attempted 86 shots, while the 76ers only attempted 78.

Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum, right, steals the ball from Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, left, during the second half of Game 3 in an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series, Friday, May 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Sixers cut Boston’s lead to four in the final quarter, but Al Horford hit a 3-pointer that halted Philly’s momentum, causing Rivers to call timeout. The Sixers’ lack of scoring from their backcourt ultimately sealed the victory for Boston. Joel Embiid was even quoted after the game, expressing the need for his teammates to step up in order to compete with Boston.

What to expect

The 76ers scored only 87 points in game two and 102 in game three. Boston’s defense continues to fluster James Harden and Tyrese Maxey. For those two to break out of their slump, Doc Rivers must find a way to get them easier baskets. He will have to adjust to Boston’s switching defense, which puts pressure on the Sixers to attempt shots when the shot clock is running down.

If Joel Embiid passes the ball more quickly and accurately out of double teams, his supporting cast can get more open looks. The Sixers coach has stressed throwing “strikes” in their passing game to force opponents’ into late-closeouts, giving Philly shooters that extra second to step into their shots more confidently.

Also, expect Rivers to implement zone defense whenever Boston goes on a run. It has proven effective in recent games, so there’s no reason to suspect he would deviate from that plan. 

Perhaps a rotation shift is due, since the Sixers have not been able to produce points. If James Harden appears to struggle again in this crucial game four, maybe Rivers will give Shake Milton minutes to give Boston a different look. Milton, who’s a three-level scorer, would potentially score much better at the rim than Harden. 

For Boston, expect them to keep throwing multiple defenders at Embiid. Regardless of size, the Celtics are unafraid of putting guards like Marcus Smart and Grant Williams on the NBA MVP. By fronting him and putting pressure on Embiid not to push off and get an offensive foul against smaller defenders, Boston will continue to make entry passes difficult for the 76ers half-court offense.

Also, expect Malcolm Brogdon to keep being a thorn in Philly’s side. Off the bench, the NBA Sixth Man of the Year is averaging 19.3 points on close to 30 minutes per game in the series. Don’t expect much from the Sixers bench, as it has been quite inconsistent versus Boston. If the Sixers are to tie the series up, their starters must have a huge afternoon to keep up with Boston’s offensive output.

AP Photo/Matt Slocum