Philadelphia 76ers

Would The Celtics or Bucks Be A Favorable Second Round Matchup For The 76ers?

76ers Game 7 Preference: Celtics Or Bucks

Game 7 between the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics will tip off at 8 PM tonight ET. The Philadelphia 76ers will have their eyes glued to the television to find out who they will play in the second round of the playoffs.

Both the Celtics and Bucks have playoff experience and will be a challenge for the red-hot Sixers. Philadelphia defeated the Miami Heat (4-1) in the first round and advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since the 2011-12 season. Last series the 76ers showed the world that they are the real deal. Sharpshooter J.J. Redick led the team in scoring with 20 points per game. Ben Simmons continued to amaze by averaging 18.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, 9.0 assists and 2.4 steals per game. Joel Embiid returned during game 3 and shifted the team to another gear.

The Sixers also received major scoring contributions from Marco Belinelli, Ersan Ilyasova, Robert Covington and Dario Saric. The four combined for 53.4 points per game which helped the starters remain aggressive. No matter who the 76ers face in the second round they have a chance to win the series. With the Bucks and Celtics playing Game 7 tonight, Sixers fans may find themselves asking who they would rather see in the second round. Again, the 76ers have the ability to compete against either team, but which potential opponent provides Philadelphia with a better matchup advantage.

Welcome To The Garden:

If the Celtics win Game 7 tonight they will have home-court advantage against the 76ers. Unlike Miami, head coach Brad Stevens and the Celtics do not fold at home. This year has been up and down for Boston. During the summer of 2017, the team received Kyrie Irving in a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers and signed Gordon Hayward as a free agent. In addition to adding two superstars, they drafted Jayson Tatum from Duke. Of course, you all know how the story ends.

Hayward fractured his ankle in the season opener against the Cavs and Irving had season-ending knee surgery in the final stretch of the season. But despite all of the obstacles, the shorthanded Celtics clinched the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Critics, analyst, and fans have all said that they won’t win it all without their two superstars. (Which I agree). However, they will definitely remain competitive in the playoffs.

Possible Concerns For Philadelphia

As of now, Boston has done a great job of protecting home court. Although the 76ers won on the road in Miami winning at TD Garden is a different task. Unlike Miami, Boston will move the ball around and try to control the whole 24-second shot clock. The Celtics will force the Sixers to rotate and switch on pick & rolls. Without their two-star players, Boston has no choice but to rely on chemistry, ball movement and play calling. Another factor that will come into play is their playoff experience from last year.

In the second round, it will be a battle between the head coaches. Brad Stevens and Brett Brown will be playing chess all series. (Figuratively speaking). Stevens will also make sure that his team is prepared to run the Sixers off of the three-point line. If Boston is able to run Philadelphia off of the three-point line it will force Simmons to become a shooter.

Possible Adjustments For Philadelphia

Now the 76ers can overcome the Celtics strategy by attacking the post with a combination of Simmons and Embiid. In addition to a combination of Simmons and Embiid, the role players have to continue to cut and attack the rim. Last but not least if the Sixers can steal a road game in this series they give themselves a chance to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. During the playoffs, Boston is averaging 100.8 points per game compared to Philadelphia’s 114.2. (7thin the league)

Series record between Philadelphia and Boston: (1-3). 

Welcome Back To Wells Fargo Center

How ideal would it be to return to the city of brotherly love after closing out the Heat in five games last Tuesday? Oooooh yeah not to mention the city is still buzzing after the Philadelphia Eagles hosted their Draft Party Thursday. I am sure that the Wells Fargo Center will be full of energy, passion, and excitement considering this team has a chance to advance to the Eastern Conference finals. If Milwaukee wins Game 7, Philadelphia will have home court advantage which is huge.

The 76ers won two of their home games in the first round of the playoffs. During the regular season, the team finished with a (30-11) record. Neither Boston or Milwaukee have won on the road this postseason which speaks volumes. Philadelphia can easily win this series due to Milwaukee’s lack of offensive versatility, ability to win on the road and inconsistent shooting. Although the Bucks have Giannis Antetokounmpo it will not be enough to beat the Sixers. Not to mention Simmons plays well on the defensive end. Philadelphia will cause matchup problems for the Bucks down low and on the perimeter. The fact that Simmons is playing point forward means that the Bucks have to switch on most of the Sixers pick & rolls.

Dreams And Nightmares

If Eric Bledsoe gets caught on Simmons it will either be on the post or in isolation on the wing. Now Milwaukee has a solid rotation of 10 but they only average 102.8 points per game. The only other player on the Bucks roster who scores more than 12 points a game is Khris Middleton which is not a good sign for Antetokounmpo. If you are a 76ers fan you want to see the Bucks next round. Philadelphia’s defense will let Antetokounmpo score at will and force others to step up.

Series record between the Bucks and Sixers:(2-2).

Possible Concerns For Philadelphia

Antetokounmpo could cause a problem for the Sixers, because of his length, euro step and ability to run the fast break. Another player who could have an impact in this series is Eric Bledsoe if he can revert back to his Phoenix Suns days. Well maybe before the tweet that got him sent to Milwaukee in the first place. Outside of Middleton and Bledsoe, the only other player to average double figures in scoring is Jabari Parker who is still figuring out his role. I don’t see this series going more than five games.  Look for the 76ers to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since the 2000-01 season.

So, if you are a die-hard Sixer fan you want to cheer on the Bucks tonight as they play the Celtics in a pivotal game 7.

All stats from this article are from stats.nba.com.

Featured image; BipHoo Company via Flickr.

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Zack Rogers

Morgan State and Notre Dame of Maryland University Alumnus. From Germantown MD. Young in age but has a retro vibe of flavor. Believer, Sports Fanatic, and lover of Sneakers (Jordan 1's & 3's). "Be the change, you want to see" IG & Twitter: ZackeryRogers13

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