This match-up could very well end up being the Eastern Conference Finals. Both teams had plenty of additions and departures in the off-season. Both rosters look very different.
The Sixers will look a little different after losing Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick, adding forward Al Horford and guard Josh Richardson, among others. With All-Star center Joel Embiid and all-around standout Ben Simmons the Sixers have a real chance to compete for a spot in the finals.
The Celtics have a talented roster with the potential to capture the Eastern Conference. Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and free-agent signee Kemba Walker will lead an ultra-talented team. All four players can score in bunches, so building chemistry throughout the season's early part will be crucial.
Celtics Hope Walker Adds Scoring And Defense
There is no doubt that Walker will be able to score for Boston. The part of the game that needs to improve is defense. In his eight seasons with Charlotte Walker's scoring abilities were visible, but his defense needs to improve now that he is playing for a contender.
The Celtics went undefeated in the preseason and won most of their games by double-digit margins. Brad Stevens seems to have his rotations sorted despite the franchise's rather significant roster changes following the departures of Kyrie Irving, Terry Rozier and Al Horford.
The biggest weakness of Boston is in the front court. They lack depth and the only significant addition was Enes Kanter. Stevens teams are known for their defense, so I'm thinking he schemes up a way to defend the interior.
Walker averaged 25.6 points per game last season for the Charlotte Hornets, it goes without saying that Kemba will be the primary scoring option for the Cs.
76ers Picked By Many To Win The East
Despite losing superstar Jimmy Butler, many of the experts have picked Philadelphia to win the East. If Simmons can learn to shoot from distance, he did hit a three in the preseason, this team could be really dangerous. Simmons does everything else well but has yet to hit a three in his career.
The 76ers boast of a significant size advantage this time around with Josh Richardson being the shortest amongst the preferred starting five despite being listed at 6'5. Philadelphia was dominant in the preseason. They only lost their last game and Simmons didn't play.
Joel Embiid has lost significant weight in the offseason and appears healthy. The MVP candidate dealt with injuries and illness throughout the season last year, but appears ready to put together a full productive season.
Embiid is not only Brett Brown's go-to man on offense, but he's also Philly's best defender. Embiid averaged a mammoth 27.5 points and 13.6 rebounds last season and could even improve on those numbers this season.
Mybookie has the 76ers as 5-point favorites. The total is set at 211.5.
Free Betting Pick
Embiid will be the difference tonight. He is a match-up nightmare for Boston. Kanter and Daniel Theis will be asked to guard him, and neither is going to be up to the task.
The 76ers only lost ten games at home last year. WIth the ability to now stretch the floor when Embiid is doubled, with the addition of Simmons jumper, this team should be hard to guard. I like Philadelphia to win the home opner and cover the spread.