In game four, the Philadelphia 76ers were able to hold off the Celtics in overtime after a late Boston Rally. Will the Sixers be able to steal another game on the road and take the series lead?
Sixers vs Celtics game info
Who: Sixers @ Celtics (series tied 2-2)
When: Tuesday, May 9, 2023 at 7:30pm EST
Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA
How to watch: TNT
Sixers vs Celtics Betting odds:
Spread: Sixers +7.5 | Celtics -7.5
Moneyline: Sixers +235 | Celtics -292
Points total: Over/Under 213
Last time they met
The 76ers had another monumental game from James Harden in game four. He showed up in a variety of ways, especially when the team needed a basket to fend off a late Boston rally and hit the game winning 3-point shot. Not only did he lead the team in scoring and assists, Harden played more minutes than any other Sixers with 47.
The only other player who played as many minutes was Jayson Tatum, who also led his team in scoring with 24, respectively. Tatum also crashed the boards heavily, securing 18 rebounds. His teammate, Jaylen Brown, scored 23 points, going 3-for-8 from beyond the arc.
Though the Sixers pulled out the win, Joel Embiid struggled. Although his statline is impressive, 34 points and 13 rebounds, Embiid made only 11-of-26 shots. More noticeably, he had issues scoring against Boston late in the game, primarily while being defended by Al Horford.
Another detail from this game that stood out was the bench rotation. Doc Rivers elected not to play Jalen McDaniels for the first time in the postseason. Georges Niang contributed nine points and Paul Reed scored two points, but nobody else from the reserves scored. Even De’Anthony Melton had an off night, going 0-2.
What to expect
The Boston crowd will be fired up tonight, and the Celtics understand how crucial a win for them would be if they can stop the Sixers. Going back to Philly for a potential elimination game for them is an unfavorable situation, so expect the core unit of Celtics, Tatum, Brown, Smart, and Horford to be locked in and use their experience of playing together as an advantage.
Since role players tend to shoot better on their home court, look for players like Malcolm Brogdon and Derrick White to keep shooting and knocking down shots.
For the 76ers, it is a toss-up how they will execute tonight. They, too, recognize the consequences if they drop game five, but the inconsistency of the team is not ideal and a huge question mark for what Philly fans can expect to see.
Which James Harden will show up? The player from game one and four, or the player from games two and three? How will Joel Embiid respond to a poor shooting night in the last game? How much is his sprained knee limiting his performance?
If Doc Rivers hopes to return home for Thursday’s game with a series lead, he may want to throw something new at Boston they have yet to see. Boston will keep throwing a number of defenders at Embiid to disrupt the half-court offense and attempt to force turnovers.
P.J. Tucker has been a vocal leader on the floor and in the locker room. His willingness to speak up for the team in crunch time is an aspect of the Sixers that had been missing for some time. Look for Tucker to keep being vocal when the team is not performing up to expectations.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum