In game five, the Philadelphia 76ers shocked Celtics fans on Boston’s home court, taking a 3-2 series lead. Can the Sixers win tonight at the Wells Fargo Center and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2001?
Sixers vs Celtics game info
Who: Celtics @ Sixers (Philadelphia leads 3-2)
When: Thursday, May 11, 2023 at 7:30pm EST
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
How to watch: ESPN
Sixers vs Celtics: Betting odds for game 6
Spread: Sixers +2.5 | Celtics -2.5
Moneyline: Sixers +115 | Celtics -135
Points total: Over/Under 212.5
Boston: Danilo Gallinari (out)
Last time they met
On a night that the Sixers controlled most of the game, Philly walked away with a confident road victory, beating Boston at TD Garden 115-103. Despite being 7.5 point underdogs in game five, Doc Rivers pulled all the right strings to secure a series lead.
As a team, the Sixers shot 50.6 percent from the field and 85.2 percent from the foul line. Philly controlled the glass, securing 49 rebounds compared to Boston’s 36. Surprisingly, the Celtics only had five total fast break points, considering they have two of the most athletic and skilled wing players in the NBA in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
The Celtics only had three players in double-figures, and their bench struggled to produce points. Malcolm Brogdon, NBA Sixth Man of the Year, managed to score only seven points. Brown was Boston’s most efficient shooter, 9-for-16, but he only had 16 shot attempts. Tatum scored 36, but he took only three shots in the final period.
The Sixers were quite the opposite with their shooting efficiency and balanced attack. Philly had five players score in double-figures, and they had a major contribution from a player who had not seen much playing time in the playoffs.
Danuel House Jr. answered the call when he played in game five, putting up 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting. While all of his baskets were layups, he helped stop Boston from gaining momentum in the second half with timely buckets and good defense.
Joel Embiid looked comfortable without his knee brace, ending the game with 33 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks. The other Sixer who had a stellar game was Tyrese Maxey. The Sixers shooting guard went 6-for-12 from beyond the arc, finishing with 30 points, seven rebounds, and three assists
Sixers vs Celtics betting offers
What to expect
The Sixers have outplayed the Celtics in consecutive games and have a series lead. Now comes the hard part; eliminating the number two seed and moving on to the next round will not come easy.
Expect Joe Mazzulla to watch some footage from last year’s postseason, when Boston was in a similar situation as they are now facing the Sixers. This time last year, the Celtics trailed Milwaukee 2-3 in the conference semifinals. They knocked off the Bucks, winning the last two games to face the Miami Heat. How did they do it?
The Boston Celtics let it rain from three. In the elimination game, Boston made 22 shots beyond the arc at a 40 percent rate. Another factor in that series comeback win was the outstanding play of Grant Williams, who scored 27 points. He hit seven 3-pointers in game seven, while Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown scored 19 and 23 points, respectively.
Another role player who stepped up last season was Payton Pritchard. He made 4-of-6 from three point land in that crucial game seven, proving that Boston’s role players aren’t afraid of the moment. Pritchett did get spot minutes in the last game, but at that point the Sixers’ lead was out of reach.
So, if Boston has an advantage tonight, it is that they have been in this situation before. Expect them to draw upon what they learned last year, for instance, trying to shut down the opponent’s best player. Giannis Antetokounmpo went 10-of-26 in that game seven versus Boston, while Milwaukee’s supporting cast could not contribute enough to thwart the Celtics’ historic 3-point barrage.
Although Joel Embiid is playing on a sprained knee, expect him to give his all in this game. He was just named to the All-NBA First Team, and he is sure to try and lead the Sixers to a close-out victory that would put him in his first ever conference finals matchup.
As Boston will continue to try and neutralize Embiid, other Sixers players must step up as they’ve done in the three games they won in the series. Look for Maxey to take advantage of any momentum generated from last game. His bursts of scoring is what kept the Sixers’ lead from disappearing.
James Harden should keep going to the pick-and-roll with Embiid, since Boston had no answer for it previously. If Harden can put up 20 points and dish out 10 or more assists tonight, the Sixers will be in good shape. If he is careless and turns the ball over, while having poor shooting performance, the Sixers will struggle.
Expect the Sixers to keep emphasizing transition defense, because one of the main factors from game five’s victory is that Philly limited Boston to only five fast break points.
Look out for Al Horford to have a bounce back game. He seems to enjoy quieting the Sixers home crowd, and he can’t be much worse than last game where he went scoreless on 0-for-7 shooting.
AP Photo/Charles Krupa