Celtics vs 76ers, Round 2 Discussion

DeadlySplitter

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Game 1 — Monday, May 1st, 7:30 p.m. (TNT)

Game 2 — Wednesday, May 3rd 8:00 p.m. (TNT)

Game 3 — Friday, May 5th 7:30 p.m. (TNT)

Game 4 — Sunday, May 7th 3:30 p.m. (TNT)

Game 5 (if necessary) — Tuesday, May 9th

Game 6 (if necessary) — Thursday, May 11th

Game 7 (if necessary) — Sunday, May 14th
 

Red Averages

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Vegas odds:

-7 point favorites game 1
-320 for the series.

76ers will have had over a week off.
 

bankshot1

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The best non finals rivalry in the NBA.
Lotta history and great basketball

These teams have played post season series like the Russians and Germans played Stalingrad.
 

DoyleCanBoyd

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The best non finals rivalry in the NBA.
Lotta history and great basketball

These teams have played post season series like the Russians and Germans played Stalingrad.
The most playoff meetings between two teams in NBA history. Cs are 14-7. The last time the Sixers beat the Celtics in a playoff series was the "Beat L.A." game.
 

ehaz

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Basing this on nothing but vibes but I have a feeling this series will end up like last season's Nets series. A couple really close wins but ends with a sweep.
 

lars10

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Basing this on nothing but vibes but I have a feeling this series will end up like last season's Nets series. A couple really close wins but ends with a sweep.
I feel like they match up better with Philly than they did with Atlanta. They're built much better to throw numbers against a large, slower center.. even though he's very talented. And they also have the length to defend Harden.

Atlanta had a lot of quick, young, length that Philly doesn't have.
 

m0ckduck

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These teams have played post season series like the Russians and Germans played Stalingrad.
Man, I had forgotten how crazy the 1981 series was. Margin of victory by game: 1, 19, 10, 2, 2, 2, 1. Yikes.
The most playoff meetings between two teams in NBA history. Cs are 14-7. The last time the Sixers beat the Celtics in a playoff series was the "Beat L.A." game.
Was struggling to remember more than 4 series wins by 76ers. Turns out the first 3 date back to when they were the Syracuse Nationals, in the pre-Bill Russell era.
 

TripleOT

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My favorite series was in 1981 where the Celts rallied after being down 3-1. The best of five in 2002 when Pierce destroyed them with 46 points in the close out game was great too, especially since I attended it, with PP and Antoine Walker going 7-7 from three, and the team going 9-10 from long distance in an epic 43 point final quarter. The Cs went 19-29 from three that game, an early glimpse two decades ago of how NBA basketball is played today.

Philly has surrounded Embiid with enough three point shooting (.387% best in the league, 12th most makes, at 12.6 per game) to beat any team when things are going right. They average one more make from three per game. Boston is at .377%, but make 16 per game, 4.6 more than their opponent. In the season series, Boston shot .411% from deep, with 15.5 makes per game on 37.2 shots, and averaged 110.8 ppg. Philly shot only .355% from deep, with 10.8 makes on 30.3 shots per game, and averaged 106.5 ppg.

If Boston averages 14 more points from three per game in the series, Embiid is going to have to seriously dominate the series for Philly to win. Boston‘s stellar percentage from deep is probably due to the quality of looks generated because Philly doesn’t have the athleticism and length to stymie the Celtics offense. They did hold JT to 21 ppg, his lowest output against any team this season, and also held JB to 21 ppg. TheyJays went only 14 for 48 from three, but the rest of the team went 48 for 103, a sizzling .466%.

It is a make or miss league, after all. Right Doc?
 

lovegtm

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I think Philly is just a little too slow, on both ends. And if Embiid is limited, and thus doesn't require as many doubles, it's going to be very very hard for them to generate enough 3-pointers to stay competitive.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Coming into the playoffs, I would have said Celtics in 5. At the beginning of the 4th quarter last night I was thinking Philly in 6 if the Celtics even advance. Now I am thinking Boston in 6.
 

lovegtm

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Coming into the playoffs, I would have said Celtics in 5. At the beginning of the 4th quarter last night I was thinking Philly in 6 if the Celtics even advance. Now I am thinking Boston in 6.
You may want to do some self-evaluation of the fact that your analysis swings back and forth depending on whether DeAndre Hunter and John Collins are hot from 3.
 

Eddie Jurak

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You may want to do some self-evaluation of the fact that your analysis swings back and forth depending on whether DeAndre Hunter and John Collins are hot from 3.
Hunter and Collins were 2-3 in the 4th last night, the Hawks 3-6. Which way did that swing my analysis?
 

lovegtm

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Hunter and Collins were 2-3 in the 4th last night, the Hawks 3-6. Which way did that swing my analysis?
The Hawks shot lights-out since game 3, and that seemed to drastically affect your perception of the Celtics' odds from game to game and quarter to quarter.
 

Eddie Jurak

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The Hawks shot lights-out since game 3, and that seemed to drastically affect your perception of the Celtics' odds from game to game and quarter to quarter.
I'll admit, I attribute that in part to defense. But the Celtics offensive struggles to keep up with that was also a part of it for me. We didn't blow a 10 point, 5 minutes left lead solely because of Atlanta's 3 point shooting, either.
 

lovegtm

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I'll admit, I attribute that in part to defense. But the Celtics offensive struggles to keep up with that was also a part of it for me. We didn't blow a 10 point, 5 minutes left lead solely because of Atlanta's 3 point shooting, either.
The ending of Game 5 was atrocious, inexcusable, and borderline unwatchable.

The entire team then got another crack at it, and executed much better, on balance.

There is another title favorite sitting at home now, because they couldn't do that when they had their second chance.

The playoffs are 7-game series for a reason: basketball has a lot of random bounces and emotional swings, and sometimes you need 6 or 7 games for them to even out. At the end of the day, however, I love the NBA because the title winner is rarely the beneficiary of a hot streak, and is usually a team that was able to figure things out in challenging situations enough times.
 

Devizier

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We frequently bring up the ‘08 Celtics for a reason.

Even the Jordan era Bulls had some long series, and that was in a much top-heavier era for NBA.
 

HomeRunBaker

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We frequently bring up the ‘08 Celtics for a reason.

Even the Jordan era Bulls had some long series, and that was in a much top-heavier era for NBA.
I brought this up a few months ago about how many G7’s the Celtics played, some against .500-type teams, during their era. The great teams win G7’s.
 

Devizier

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I brought this up a few months ago about how many G7’s the Celtics played, some against .500-type teams, during their era. The great teams win G7’s.
I mean, this is the “price” for the quality product that the NBA provides these days. I for one am not hankering for a return to the 1990-2000s dark ages, even if the Celtics are one of the chosen few.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I mean, this is the “price” for the quality product that the NBA provides these days. I for one am not hankering for a return to the 1990-2000s dark ages, even if the Celtics are one of the chosen few.
We are already one game ahead of our 2008 Championship team that couldn’t close out a G6 in Atlanta (when I was in the stands). :)

Giannis (injured and out), Embiid, Herro, Randle…..we have a decided health advantage in the EC as well.
 

BaseballJones

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When Philly has the ball:
Philly offense: 115.2 points scored
Boston defense: 111.4 points allowed
EXPECTED: Philly scores 113.3 points per game

When Boston has the ball:
Philly defense: 110.9 points allowed
Boston offense: 117.9 points scored
EXPECTED: Boston scores 114.4 points per game

Should be a very tightly contested series, even though Boston has had Philly's number over the last few years.
 

terrynever

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Embiid will wear a brace that may stabilize his wounded knee but will limit freedom of movement. That slows Philly down, which should play into Boston’s hands. The two extra days might be crucial in terms of Embiid being ready for Game 1. Philly could sit Embiid for the first game or two, if that’s what he needs. Doc says we will know more today.

Someone mentioned earlier that Boston holds a 14-7 advantage over Philly in the playoffs. Philly has done well to win one-third of its matchups with a team that dominated the league for the first 25 years of the NBA. You beat Boston, you gotta earn it.

I am not optimistic about Philly’s chances. The second round is where Embiid’s teams go to die. Just hoping for a 7-game series that will be remembered the way Wilt vs. Russell is remembered, as the best the league can offer in a particular season.
 

RSN Diaspora

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Embiid will wear a brace that may stabilize his wounded knee but will limit freedom of movement. That slows Philly down, which should play into Boston’s hands. The two extra days might be crucial in terms of Embiid being ready for Game 1.
Conventional wisdom is that the C's not only shit the bed in how they lost game 5, but that the need for a game six gave Embiid more time to rest because the 2nd round now won't start until Monday. But given TL's troubles last night, I wonder if the rest is as important for him as it is Embiid.
 

terrynever

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Conventional wisdom is that the C's not only shit the bed in how they lost game 5, but that the need for a game six gave Embiid more time to rest because the 2nd round now won't start until Monday. But given TL's troubles last night, I wonder if the rest is as important for him as it is Embiid.
They are both one wrong step from sitting down. But Boston does not rise or fall on its big man the way Philly does. Boston just has a deeper roster with more coverage for injuries.
 

RSN Diaspora

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They are both one wrong step from sitting down. But Boston does not rise or fall on its big man the way Philly does. Boston just has a deeper roster with more coverage for injuries.
Clearly Embiid is more important to the Sixers than TL is to the Celtics, but there is a substantial and noticeable difference in defending the paint when Rob is playing at his best and he hasn't been his best.

Admittedly, some of this may be in my head--if you asked me before looking at the box score who won the rebounding battle last night, I would've said ATL by a country mile. In fact, we had 47 boards to ATL's 45, and only gave up one more offensive board than they did.
 

Jimbodandy

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If Embiid is limited, that bodes well for Boston. Limited Embiid is not an MVP level player. A very good one but not "WTF do we do about this guy??" level.

Still...a very good team. Should be epic.
 

terrynever

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I wonder what kind of surprises Doc and his coaching staff are planning? If Embiid is not ready for Game 1, Paul Reed is likely starter, and he has not fared well against Boston in limited time. Sixers could go small and put Jalen McDaniels in the starting lineup. They could even start Melton at off guard over Maxey, another guy who struggles against Boston.

One real key is defending the two Js. McDaniels and Melton will get that job, along with starting forward Tobias Harris.

Go small and fast to start the series and put pressure on Coach Joe to adapt. The first two games don’t matter anyway.
 

Erik Hanson's Hook

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Get ready for the sportz radio comparison of how Doc rides the hell out of referees vs Mazzulla's much lower-key demeanor. I'm agnostic on the matter but will defer to others as to whether that stuff really works.
 

TripleOT

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Celtics in 5. They hold serve at home, win a game in Philly, and close out in Boston.

Boston locks in on stopping Maxey. Embiid will get his, but Harden won’t be as good as they need him to be. As long as Boston plays with pace, and doesn’t get sucked into the trap of playing a possession by possession half court game, they will win handily.

The Sixers did hold Boston to their third lowest point total of any opponent this season, at 110.8 ppg, 7.1 ppg under their season average. In Philadelphia‘s only win, by two points, sans JB,, Boston fell into the slow pace trap and couldn’t break 25 points in any of the first three quarters, before exploding for 34 in the fourth. Embiid had to stand on his head the entire game for Philly to eek out a home win.
 

snowmanny

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Man, I had forgotten how crazy the 1981 series was. Margin of victory by game: 1, 19, 10, 2, 2, 2, 1. Yikes.
Celtics came back from 3-1 down, second time they had done it against Philly (1968). Going into game 6 they had lost something like 13 straight in Philadelphia and fell behind by 17 (back then that was a lot).
 

TripleOT

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Celtics came back from 3-1 down, second time they had done it against Philly (1968). Going into game 6 they had lost something like 13 straight in Philadelphia and fell behind by 17 (back then that was a lot).
IIRC, Bird banked a foul line jumper to seal the comeback.
 

Devizier

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I wonder what kind of surprises Doc and his coaching staff are planning? If Embiid is not ready for Game 1, Paul Reed is likely starter, and he has not fared well against Boston in limited time.
The Sixers' lineups without Embiid look like quite a hodepodge from the regular season:
1) M. Harrell - G. Niang - S. Milton - M. Thybulle - T. Maxey
2) P. Tucker - J. Harden - T. Harris - D. Melton - T. Maxey
3) P. Tucker - T. Harris - M. Harrell - D. Melton - S. Milton

Are your top three (all <100 minutes played in the regular season) and obviously #1 is not possible. Seems like your second suggestion is fairly likely, as you have to go a ways down before Reed makes his appearance.
 

Mooch

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Celtics need to force switches onto Harden wherever possible on the offensive end. Wear him down and make him unplayable. Everything will cascade downward from there for Philly.

I've got Boston in 5.
 

Jimbodandy

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Not to be a downer, but I think that it's going to be a long series. Limited Embiid is still a very talented player. Harden is still a creator. Celtics are still only putting in defensive effort in spurts, not consistently.

Before Embiid's knee, this series was a coin flip for me. Now we have an edge. But I think that sweep talk is crazy.
 

terrynever

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Celtics need to force switches onto Harden wherever possible on the offensive end. Wear him down and make him unplayable. Everything will cascade downward from there for Philly.

I've got Boston in 5.
This is where the series hinges between competitive and comfortable Boston wins. Harden has to pass the ball quickly and get out of the way. Which is not his normal game.
 

Nator

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The Celtics will probably let Joel get his, but they are going to limit the damage that Harden, Maxey, and Harris do. Philly will not be able avoid guarding Tatum or Brown with either Harden (too slow) or Maxey (too small). They are going to torch those match-ups.

Also, they know that if they play with some decent pace at some point in the 2nd half Joel Embiid transforms into Low-E Joe E. Harden also starts getting gassed, and they just have to be sure Maxey is well defended, which will hopefully be by Derrick White.

I say C's in 5, but a very competitive 5 games.

Edit: Kinda like what Mooch just posted.
 

JakeRae

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I wonder what kind of surprises Doc and his coaching staff are planning? If Embiid is not ready for Game 1, Paul Reed is likely starter, and he has not fared well against Boston in limited time. Sixers could go small and put Jalen McDaniels in the starting lineup. They could even start Melton at off guard over Maxey, another guy who struggles against Boston.

One real key is defending the two Js. McDaniels and Melton will get that job, along with starting forward Tobias Harris.

Go small and fast to start the series and put pressure on Coach Joe to adapt. The first two games don’t matter anyway.
I think this mistakes the coaching skill balance. Doc is very good at getting teams to buy in and play together, which is a really valuable coaching ability, but he isn’t a master tactician. In terms of Xs and Os, I feel pretty good about Mazzulla’s ability to win the coaching contest with Doc.

I also don’t see why Philly going smaller would pressure us. Our default rotation has Tatum at the 4 and features 2 pg. This isn’t last year where we were missing guard depth and couldn’t consistently play small effectively. We’re now at our best from a depth standpoint playing smaller, which lets us get 96+ mpg from White/Smart/Brogdon and puts less stress on Horford and Timelord.
 

NomarsFool

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Maybe it was just luck, but even last night I felt like the Hawks were nailing a lot of wide open 3s. Seems like we needed to make some kind of adjustment to stay a little tighter on those shooters.

Against Philly, do we have any fear the C's might shy away from attacking the rim for fear of getting blocked by Embiid?
 

loshjott

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The most playoff meetings between two teams in NBA history. Cs are 14-7. The last time the Sixers beat the Celtics in a playoff series was the "Beat L.A." game.
I was at this game at the Spectrum - game 3 of the 1985 Eastern Conference finals. More than the game itself, I remember I was with a Sixer fan friend (we were in college at the time) and he had will call tickets. The line was so long we missed the entire first quarter. We got in with the Sixers up 8 (I had to look that up) and the rest of the game was a Celtic demolition.
 

terrynever

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I was at this game at the Spectrum - game 3 of the 1985 Eastern Conference finals. More than the game itself, I remember I was with a Sixer fan friend (we were in college at the time) and he had will call tickets. The line was so long we missed the entire first quarter. We got in with the Sixers up 8 (I had to look that up) and the rest of the game was a Celtic demolition.
You guys used to let Philly win a title ever 20 years but it has been 40 years now. And 15 for Boston.
 

InstaFace

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Against Philly, do we have any fear the C's might shy away from attacking the rim for fear of getting blocked by Embiid?
Horford is enough of a 3-point threat that Embiid has to respect him on the perimeter. This is Horford's series to swing in that regard, him and Grant. Time Lord can't get Embiid to leave the paint, so I expect to see TL every minute that Embiid sits. We might also see some Blake Griffin duty, just because (A) he can hit 3s, (B) he can bang Embiid around and tire him out a bit, and (C) Horford probably lacks the conditioning to play against Embiid for 35 mins a game at this point.

For all the dramatic moments Embiid can create, what makes him a game-winning player is his propensity to get to the line and then sinking FTs at an 86% clip, which is pretty atypical for an XL-sized Center. The key to Embiid defense is to not foul him. If he makes a few more baskets that's fine, but if he's getting and-1s or getting bailed out because you left your hand in there (or he hooked yours and fell down), that's what's going to lose us a game. Just because he's a big load doesn't mean he's trying to back his defender down every possession, he has great footwork and takes a lot of mid-range jumpers. We just need to make those mid-rangers awkward as possible without fouling.

Embiid only blocks 1.8 shots a game, a lot less than his first few years in the league (when he was so eager to go for the block that you could get him to bite on anything, and then lay it off for a dunk or layup). He won't stop a lot of our drives to the rim unless he's allowed to just camp out in the paint - which he does a lot - and when he does we've just got to hit the open perimeter guy (as Smart did wonderfully last night), or have a second cutter to lay it off to.

Watch highlights of our matchups this year and you'll see that the Jays - and others, but particularly the Jays - are unafraid to drive to the rim with Embiid there. Sometimes they take advantage of having Embiid screened out by another frontcourt player to clear a lane. Seeing how they do it should give you a feel for what kinds of plays we've got to seek (and avoid). You'll also see a bunch of situations on defense where we conspicuously avoid a vigorous challenge of Embiid in the paint, specifically to avoid giving him FTs.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hU6Gz43e-4g


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5touDmy8pg


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G--rkLisHpY


We use a lot of Al / Grant 2-bigs lineups when Embiid is on the floor. Horford routinely makes Embiid pay for cheating off of him. I expect to see plenty of that. Not so much Luke Kornet, who much as I love him just gets absolutely abused by Embiid.
 

Auger34

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Celtics in 5. Embiid injury and Harden’s aging/Achilles are the biggest factors for me.

Also, as much as we all shit on the Celtics for their late game execution the 6ers aren’t much better. Embiid and Harden tend to make incredibly dumb decisions in the clutch (mostly because they can never stop grifting the refs and exaggerating contact) and Doc isn’t exactly known as a big game coach
 

HomeRunBaker

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Clearly Embiid is more important to the Sixers than TL is to the Celtics, but there is a substantial and noticeable difference in defending the paint when Rob is playing at his best and he hasn't been his best.

Admittedly, some of this may be in my head--if you asked me before looking at the box score who won the rebounding battle last night, I would've said ATL by a country mile. In fact, we had 47 boards to ATL's 45, and only gave up one more offensive board than they did.
This is the side I’m on too. The Sixers offense has hummed all season when Embiid was out on the way to an 11-6 record and while the playoffs are obv a different animal the Celtics were very much affected by TL’s absence. The gap between the two’s level of importance to their respective teams I feel are a lot smaller than people realize. I’ve said all year that we are a good team without a healthy TL and a great team with him healthy. If he’s good to go and go well….I’m not worried about Embiid’s status at all.
 

RG33

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Philly is the worst fight that you have ever had with your spouse over the most frustratingly stupid thing ever.

Philly is the worst boss you have ever had in your life whom never should have been in a position of authority.

Philly is the biggest asshole you have ever come across in traffic who you never got the chance to stand directly in front of.

Philly is the loud and obnoxious parent at your kid’s club sport game who played college sports and thinks that means they can yell at coaches and refs indiscriminately.

Philly is the patron at the restaurant who sends back the bottle of wine because they don’t like it.

Philly hates puppies.

Philly mocks orphans.

Philly puts gum under tables.

Philly wears velcro sneaker in their 40’s.

Phuck Philly.

Go Celts.