3 Reasons Why The Sixers Will Beat The Injury-Riddled Celtics
There are a few reasons Philadelphia will win this series. There is no doubt that the Boston Celtics started this season with high expectations. The addition of superstars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward sent shock waves throughout the league. However, Hayward suffered a season-ending injury within the first few minutes of their home opener. The injury woes do not end there, Irving has to miss the entire playoffs due to knee surgery. It seems like this team can’t catch a break, which is perfect for the Philadelphia 76ers who have played superb thus far into the playoffs.
RECAP OF ROUND 1
Injury-prone center Joel Embiid seems poised to make an impact for the rest of the playoffs, despite an orbital fracture he suffered towards the end of the regular season. The Sixers finished their first round with an impressive (4-1) rout of the Miami Heat. On another note, the Celtics had a tremendously difficult time defeating the Milwaukee Bucks in 7 games, one of the reasons Philadelphia will have an easy time in round 2.
CELTIC’S HORFORD NO MATCH FOR EMBIID
In 5 games, Sixers center Joel Embiid humiliated Heat big man Hassan Whiteside. Embiid was an absolute monster on defense, averaging 3 blocks per game, as well as 10.3 rebounds. It is easy to say the defensive prowess of the Kansas product would not be enough to beat a fast-paced Celtics team. Good thing the Sixers big man has averaged 18.7 points per game this postseason. Celtics center Al Horford seems like a matchup nightmare when you consider his 18.1 points per games throughout the playoffs. On a team where size is a major problem, Horford only pulls down 8.7 rebounds per game. This is not enough against a Sixers squad that boasts two players in double digits for rebounds. The lack of rebounding by the Celtics big man foreshadows a bleak series where second-chance points are almost non-existent.
REASONS PHILADELPHIA CAN’T LOSE: BEN SIMMONS
In just his first year in the league, Ben Simmons has blown away critics and fans. He has defied expectations on every single level, showing glimpses of Magic Johnson with his passing, rebounding, and court vision. Although he does not excel at shooting, his mentality to get to the rim is unlike most players in the league. The Miami Heat expected him to digress if given space to shoot, hoping to cut him off from driving to the basket. Similar techniques have been used by other teams in the league when guarding LeBron James.
SIMMONS MUST REMAIN AGGRESSIVE
These strategies just never work, and are one of the reasons Philadelphia will continue Simmons’ inside attack. Simmons’ strength has been too overwhelming to keep out of the paint. The LSU product is an absolute animal on the stat sheet, averaging a near triple-double in the last series against Miami. His 18.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 9.0 assists per game last series is one of the reasons why this should absolutely terrify the Celtics.
This tweet shows just how close ‘Magic’ and Simmons are in playing styles:
Ben Simmons & Magic Johnson. Enjoy! 💛🏀 pic.twitter.com/xG7uZFPisO
— NBA 305 (@NBA_305) April 12, 2018
The Sixers tweeted an epic compilation of the rivalry between the two teams heading into game 1 tonight:
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) April 30, 2018
CELTICS LACK EFFICIENT 3-POINT SCORERS
Throughout 7 games against the Bucks, it was obvious the Celtics are streaky shooters. At home, guard Terry Rozier looked impressive from behind the 3-point line. Other times, especially on the road, he seemed to disappear in the face of an aggressive crowd. Forward Marcus Morris is extremely streaky as well, averaging 45 percent from 3-point range, and an underwhelming 36 percent from inside the arc. Rookie Jayson Tatum is the exact opposite, shooting an unimpressive 30 percent from deep and a formidable 43 percent from 2-point range. It will be interesting to see which players get hot, and which players fall flat against an aggressive Sixers crowd. If the Celtics can’t capitalize from behind the line, the Sixers can and will. Home court advantage for Boston might be one of the only reasons Philadelphia can’t win the series.
Featured Image: Keith Allison