Boston Celtics at Philadelphia
When: 7:00 PM ET, Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia 76ers are peaking at the right time with five straight wins as they look to nail down home-court advantage in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Sixers will try to deliver a blow to one of the teams attempting to chase them down on Wednesday as they host the rival Boston Celtics, who have owned the all-time series of late.
Philadelphia received at least 22 points from four players – including 28 by Ben Simmons – in Tuesday’s 118-114 victory at Charlotte on while playing without star center Joel Embiid (rest) as it moved 2 1/2 games ahead of fourth-place Indiana and three in front of the fifth-place Celtics. “Oh we can’t wait,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown told reporters of the matchup with the Celtics, which will feature a rested Embiid. “I just got off FaceTime with Joel. We’re excited for it.” Including the second round of the 2018 playoffs, Boston has won seven of the last eight meetings – including a 112-109 triumph in Philadelphia last month. The Celtics had won five of six overall before dropping a 114-105 decision to Denver on Monday to cap a three-game homestand.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN, NBCS Boston, NBCS Philadelphia
ABOUT THE CELTICS (43-28): Boston has prided itself on defense during the Brad Stevens era, but it has allowed an average of 123.5 points over the last four games – including 34 in the fourth quarter in the loss to the Nuggets. “On the defensive end, focusing on what we needed to do,” veteran Al Horford told reporters of the team’s primary issue of late. “Definitely disappointed on our end. We played a really good game back and forth, and then it got away from us in the fourth.” Star guard Kyrie Irving, who recorded four steals against Denver, has scored at least 30 points in three straight contests.
ABOUT THE 76ERS (46-25): JJ Redick recorded the first double-double of his 13-year career in Tuesday’s win as he registered 27 points and 10 rebounds while falling two assists shy of a triple-double. “Ten rebounds. I never thought the day would come,” Redick joked in a postgame television interview before getting more serious about the matchup with Boston. “It’s always a big game when we play Boston. I think, psychologically, we have to figure out how to beat these guys.” Simmons was 11-for-12 from the floor at Charlotte and is shooting 68.8 percent over his last four games.
1. Celtics SF Gordon Hayward (concussion), who scored 26 points in the win at Philadelphia on Feb. 12, is expected to miss his second straight game.
2. The Sixers’ bench was outscored 61-14 at Charlotte, with SF James Ennis III scoring all 14 of Philadelphia’s points.
3. Redick is 22-for-40 from 3-point range over his last five contests.