We’re around 65 games through the 2022-23 NBA season, and for the first time in as long as I can remember, the top spot in the Eastern Conference is held by somebody who isn’t the Boston Celtics, as the Milwaukee Bucks extend their current win streak to sixteen games.
But the Celtics will be hoping to regain first place and prove to everybody that they’re still the team to beat and favorites to go all the way and take home the NBA Championship trophy in June!
Today though, we’re here to talk about the pride of Philadelphia, the Sixers. They currently find themselves third in the Eastern Conference with a record of 42-22, so they aren’t too far off the pace and realistically could catch the Celtics and the Bucks, but first, they have some tough games in their immediate future. At the time of writing, their next game is with the high-flying Bucks. If they can get through that, they can get through anything.
There is one upcoming match, in particular, we’re going to be looking at today, and that is the April 4th fixture against the Boston Celtics. Of course, the Celtics this season have been a real force to be reckoned with. The last time they met was on 26th February. The Sixers led the game in the first half, but the Celtics stormed into the lead in the 3rd quarter and then held the lead through the 4th winning 110-107.
But what can we expect for the game in April?
Can the Sixers take advantage of the potential knock to the confidence of a very good Celtics team?
To start our assessment of this upcoming game, we’re going to look at the stats; honestly, it’s quite one-sided. The Celtics are a higher scoring team; they make and attempt more field goals, and the same can be said for 3-pointers. However, they are less accurate as the Sixers actually have a higher FG% (48.2% vs. 47.6%) and 3pt% (38.4% vs. 37.7%), which could potentially make a big difference. The Sixers are better from the free-throw line, too, with 83.2%. But the further down the list you go, you can see that the Celtics do take it in most of the stat lines.
Possessions, Rebounds, Offensive Rebounds, Defensive Rebounds, Assists, Blocks, Personal Fouls (less is better), Offensive Rating. With all of these stats, the Celtics have the advantage, but the Celtics take Steals and Defensive rating. They’re both tied when it comes to turnovers. Unfortunately for games like this, however, stats aren’t everything; they only tell part of the tale. Mentality is a significant factor, and something the Celtics have here is a 3-0 record over the Sixers this season and the bit between their teeth after the Bucks took the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Now we’ve taken a look at the Sixers/Celtics game; it’s time to take a look at the more immediate fixtures for both of these teams. Firstly the Sixers (42-22) travel to Milwaukee to play the Bucks (46-18), then the Celtics (45-21) play host to the New York Knicks (39-27), two games that may be more than meets the eye.
Most casual fans would expect this to be a pretty straightforward parlay of Bucks/Celtics, but what do the experts think?
With sports betting soon to be legal in Massachusetts, there will be plenty of sports betting promos for Massachusetts fans, and if you’re looking to make the most of them, we’ll take a look at the odds of going all the way and lifting that NBA Championship. Starting with the Sixers, they’re currently the sixth favorite to win it all at +1100, returning $60 from a $5 stake. The Celtics are still favorites at +260, returning $18 from a $5 stake. Just behind the Celtics are the Phoenix Suns at +400, returning $25 from a $5 stake, and the other high-flying team, the Milwaukee Bucks are just behind them in third place at +450, returning $27.50 from the same $5 stake as before!
So, Sixers fans, what are we saying? Do we think the boys can do it? They have lost all 3 games against the Celtics this season, 117-126, 99-106, and 107-110. But it isn’t really a case of them not being good enough; the Sixers are a fantastic team, and in my opinion, if there’s anything that sets the two teams apart right now, is that the Celtics are simply acting as though they have something to prove, which is why they are playing that way. They made the NBA Finals last season by losing to the Warriors, so they’re wanting to take it one step further this season.
The Sixers, on the other hand, haven’t had a deep run into the playoffs since the 2000-01 season, where they lost 4-1 in the finals against the Lakers. With enough results going their way, the Sixers really do have a team right now that could make a solid postseason run. The fans deserve this, in my opinion, and so does the franchise.
The question is, are there any changes you guys think the franchise needs to make to take the next step and send the fans on a wild ride to the depths of the playoffs?
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