- The Philadelphia 76ers are 5.5-point home favorites over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, Jan. 20 at Wells Fargo Center
- The Celtics have won five of their last six and own the best record in the Eastern Conference at 8-4
- Odds, lines and the spread for Celtics-76ers can be found below
The Boston Celtics (8-4) will try to get back on track after their worst loss of the season on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers (9-5) on Wednesday, Jan. 20th. The Celtics had a five-game win streak snapped by the Knicks Sunday 105-75, while the Sixers lost to the Grizzlies Saturday in their last game out. Tip is set for 7:00 p.m. ET at the Wells Fargo Center.
The 30-point loss by Boston came with Brad Stevens’ team short-handed. Point guard Kemba Walker made his season debut after missing the first 11 games with a left knee injury. But, he left the game in the third quarter with a rib injury. Fellow All-Star Jayson Tatum was out with COVID-19.
Meantime, Philly had its scheduled game Sunday with Oklahoma City postponed due coronavirus health and safety protocols. Prior to that, Doc Rivers’ squad lost to Memphis 106-104 Saturday. Now, the home-team Sixers are favored over the once-again short-handed C’s.
Celtics vs 76ers Odds
|Boston Celtics||+168||+4.5 (-106)||O 220.5 (-110)|
|Philadelphia 76ers||-200||-4.5 (-114)||U 220.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Jan. 20th from FanDuel
Reinforcements on the Way
Tatum won’t travel to the City of Brotherly Love. But Boston will have centers Robert Williams III and Tacko Fall available. That’s a good thing, because Joel Embiid will be back for Philly.
The return of Williams and Fall will not only help offset the absence of Tatum – they’re a pair that Stevens has come rely upon in their own right.
TACKO FALL. POINT GOD. pic.twitter.com/0RxeBT34pK
— Celtics Junkies (@Celtics_Junkies) January 16, 2021
Williams has missed Boston’s last three games after testing positive for COVID-19 in early January, but said Tuesday he feels “great” after initially exhibiting some flu-like symptoms. He’s been a key bench player for Stevens, averaging 6.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in 16 minutes. Plus, Fall will return after dealing with ankle sprain. The duo’s combined length and energy will be a welcome addition against the 76ers.
Walker should be back as well after playing only 20 minutes Sunday. The star guard was clearly rusty, putting up only nine points on 3-of-13 shooting with five turnovers.
Brad Stevens says, “I don’t believe that (performance) is who this team is.” He later adds, “We had a clunker.”
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 17, 2021
Boston wants to put Sunday’s dismal performance behind it. Even without Tatum, a more-rested Walker and the rest of the roster should give them a very good chance of doing just that Wednesday.
Processing a Return
Philly is anxious to put a bitter defeat in its rear view mirror as well.
The Sixers played and ultimately lost to the Grizzlies without All-Star Embiid, who was rested due to right knee pain. It was yet another game where Philadelphia was without one of its starters. But that shouldn’t be the case Wednesday as “The Process” is expected to return for Rivers.
Doc Rivers says he expects Joel Embiid to play tomorrow night
Doc says it has “absolutely affected” Sixers not having a lot of practices
“It has absolutely been very difficult” going through Covid-19 issues especially because Sixers are so new to each other pic.twitter.com/YxiVvqZRsj
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) January 19, 2021
Embiid has missed three games, but has shot up in the NBA MVP odds when on the court. The three-time All-Star is averaging 25.0 points and 11.5 rebounds per game – and having him back will be a shot in the arm for the home team looking to rebound from a home loss against one of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference.
This will be the first time Rivers faces the franchise he helped guide to an NBA record 17th title in 2008 as the Sixers head coach. While Rivers is considered a good, if not great, NBA head coach with a championship pedigree, it’s Stevens who many consider an elite basketball mind.
Try this stat on for size: dating back to the 2013-14 season (when Rivers took over the Clippers and Stevens left Butler to replace him in Boston), it’s Doc with an astounding 10-4 head-to-head mark against Stevens.
Plus, when you factor in the recent head-to-head record in the series between the franchises facing off Wednesday, you start to see there’s a definite trend here. Philly beat Boston three out of four times last season.
Those numbers – along with the return of a rested and motivated Embiid – make Philly too tempting to pass up in this spot.
The pick: Philadelphia -5.5 (-114)