Categories: NBA

76ers at Celtics – NBA Game 5 Pick for May 9th

Philadelphia was able to avoid being swept by the Boston Celtics on their home court. But, do the 76ers have what it takes to win Game 5 in Boston? Oddsmakers feel that Philly does have a chance with most of the reputable sites placing the spread at -1.5 for the Celtics. However, I disagree and here’s why: Boston is 6-0 at home in the playoffs and score 11.5 points per 100 possessions better at home than on the road.

At home, Boston averages 111.4 pts/100 possessions compared to just 99.9 pts/100 possessions on the road. Additionally, Boston’s 5 best offensive outings in the playoffs came at home. In this series, Boston has outscored Philly 112.5 ppg to 102 ppg at home.

In game 4, it took a poor performance by Boston and a career performance from T.J. McConnell to stave off elimination. However, I don’t expect either to happen again in Game 5. At Philly, Boston shot 43.2% from the floor, including a pathetic 41.3 FG% in Game 4. At home, Boston shot 46.6% from the floor in this series so far. At Philly, Boston shot 30.3% from 3-point line and at home they shot 44.4% from beyond the arc. Do you see the theme here? Here’s one more stunning difference to hammer home this point: from the free throw line the Celtics shot 68.7% in Philly, but at home they shot 86.9%.

Philly also forced more turnovers at home (22 to 28) and got more rebounds at 61 rpg to 55 rpg. It’s clear that the 76ers are a better team at home. Although they made a good run at winning Game 2 in Boston, they still fell short. At TD Garden, the 76ers averaged 11.5 turnovers per game to 9.5 by the C’s.

For those wondering, no team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the history of the NBA. So, the 76ers are trying everything they can to be the first. This includes tinkering with their starting lineup as they benched forward Robert Covington for T.J. McConnell who ended up being the star of the game. They’ve also lessened Joel Embiid’s defensive coverage on Celtics Al Horford, according to NBA.com. In the first 2 games, Boston scored 59 points on 37 possessions when Embiid covered Horford. Al averaged 19.5 ppg in those two contests. After the change, Horford has only averaged 11.5 ppg.

I expect Horford to bounce back at home and have a more impactful performance. Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 20 points in Game 4 and Morris chipped in 17. Tatum is averaging 24.5 ppg at home in this series and Boston will need him to lead the charge again in Game 5. Boston will also need point guard Terry Rozier to bounce back as he only averaged 14.5 ppg and 2.5 apg on the road. At home, he averaged 24.5 ppg and 7.5 apg against Philly.

The Celtics are 17-3 SU in their last 20 games against the 76ers. They’re also 4-1 ATS and 4-1 SU in their last 5 overall games. In their last 5 home games, Boston is 5-0 ATS and 5-0 SU. The Celtics are 9-1 SU in their last 10 home games against Philly. Boston is also 33-14 at home this year, 15-5 SU against the division, and 21-6 when avenging a loss. The 76ers are 7-28 SU in their last 35 road games within the division and 10-16 SU as an underdog this year.

Boston is looking to close out this series and play against LeBron in the Eastern Conference finals for the 2nd straight year. I believe the Celtics are going to win this game because they play significantly better at home and Philly’s not built to create or rewrite NBA history.

Bet: Celtics moneyline at -124

Rick Rockwell

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Rick Rockwell

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