Eastern Conference heavyweights will meet up for a Christmas Day NBA battle. The Boston Celtics will host the Philadelphia 76ers in what will likely be a playoff preview in the Eastern Conference. This game is a rematch of the season opener that was won by the Boston Celtics, 105-87, in Boston.
The Celtics were able to snap a three-game losing streak with a victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday night. Boston comes into this game with a 19-13 record and sit in third place in the tough Atlantic Division. Philadelphia brings a 22-12 record into this Christmas Day showdown, and have won two straight games. The Sixers are just 2.5 games behind the Toronto Raptors in the Atlantic Division. Boston is a 3.5 point favorite over Philadelphia in this game.
Celtics Playing Defense
The Boston Celtics are back to playing the defense that has propelled them to the top of the Eastern Conference. Boston is giving up just 104.8 points per game which is the fourth best scoring defense in the NBA. Center Al Horford is averaging 1.7 steals per game, and Marcus Smart is harassing opponents to the tune of 1.8 steals per game. The Celtics defense will have their hands full with a loaded Sixers team in this game.
Point guard Kyrie Irving appears to be fully healthy again for the Celtics and is leading the team with 22.6 points per game this season. Irving is shooting close to 50 percent from the field while making almost 40 percent of his three-point attempts. The Celtics are still waiting for Gordon Hayward to return to his old form in order to take their team over the top. Hayward has been forced to miss several games this season and is averaging just 10.9 points per game.
Embiid Carrying Revamped 76ers Team
The Philadelphia 76ers team will look a lot different than the team that took the floor in the season opener. Point guard Markelle Fultz has been shut down by the team, and JJ Reddick has been inserted into the starting lineup. The Sixers have also added All-Star Jimmy Butler to their roster, and Philadelphia has plenty of scoring options. Philadelphia comes into this game averaging 114.6 points per game, but are giving up over 111 points per game.
Center Joel Embiid has been the brightest star for the 76ers so far this season. Embiid is averaging 26.4 points and 13.4 rebounds per game and is proving himself to be one of the top players in the NBA. Last year’s Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons is averaging 16.2 points and 7.9 assists this season and is improving with each game he plays. Philadelphia has all the weapons needed to win an NBA Championship.
Boston Protects Home Court on Christmas
The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers will be rivals in the Eastern Conference for years to come. NBA fans get an absolute treat having these two teams square off on Christmas Day. Boston has been up and down this season, but they will be ready to prove themselves against Philadelphia in this game. Look for the Celtics to find just enough offense to push past the Sixers on Christmas Day. Bet the Boston Celtics -3.5 over the Philadelphia 76ers.