Game 1 of this series begins in Massachusetts tonight as the Philadelphia 76ers travel to take on the Boston Celtics. The game is scheduled for an 8:00 pm start time and it will be televised live on TNT. Currently the odds have Boston favored by 5 points with the total sitting at 170 points for the contest.
Free Analysis: The 76ers are riding high after beating top-seeded Chicago in the first round of the playoffs, and now they will try to repeat the feat against a veteran Celtics team in a series that begins on Saturday afternoon in Boston. Both of these teams are playing less than 48 hours after completing grueling, low-scoring six-game series. However, both squads have thrived in these little-rest situations all season as Philly is 24-17 (21-20 ATS) when playing with one day of rest, and Boston is even better at 26-14 (25-15 ATS). PG Jrue Holiday was Philly’s top player in the first round, piling up 18.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 4.7 APG in the six games. SF Andre Iguodala was the hero of the Game 6 clincher by sinking clutch free throws down the stretch and finishing the game with 20 points, seven assists and four rebounds. He also had a well-rounded performance against Boston this season with 12.3 PPG (49% FG), 6.0 APG and 4.7 RPG. PF Elton Brand was Philly’s top scorer in the three games with the Celtics (14.7 PPG), but has scored a total of 17 points (7-of-27 FG) in his past four contests. C Spencer Hawes has been logging the majority of minutes at the five-spot, and had a strong showing in the series against the Bulls (11.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG). Philly outrebounded Boston by 10.6 RPG in the regular season series, thanks to 12.5 RPG from C Nikola Vucevic, who did not play a single minute in the first round against Chicago. Boston’s backcourt did not play particularly well versus the 76ers this season, as SG Ray Allen and PG Rajon Rondo were held to just 6.0 PPG apiece. Rondo, who has been outstanding in the 2012 playoffs (16.8 PPG, 11.8 APG, 3.4 SPG), was able to dish out 13.3 APG in those three meetings though. SF Paul Pierce and PF Kevin Garnett posted very similar numbers versus the 76ers this season. Pierce scored 17.7 PPG (53% FG) with 6.0 RPG, while Garnett had 16.0 PPG (54% FG) and 6.3 RPG. Both players are also coming off big performances in the first-round series win over Atlanta. Pierce led the C’s with 21.2 PPG, adding 6.3 RPG and 3.8 APG. Garnett averaged a double-double (18.7 PPG, 10.5 RPG) making a team-best 51% of his shots. Boston and Philadelphia last met in the postseason in 2002 when the Celtics won the best-of-five first-round series 3-2. This year the Sixers took 2 of three in the regular season and all three games were laughers.
Free Pick: Lets take a shot on the Over in this one. The Sixers played some very low scoring games vs the Bulls, but let's take a closer look at that. In the last 4 games of the series vs the Bulls the highest point total put up was 171 points, while the first two games of the series put up 194 and 201 points. The difference between the first two and the last 4 was that the Bulls were healthy for the first two, but were missing Rose for the last 4 and Noah for the last 3. Pierce and Allen as not at 100% for Boston here, but they will play and Boston showed in desire to run a bit more in the latter part of the Atlanta series. Philly's road games have averaged 186.8 ppg, while Boston home games have averaged 176.2 ppg. Both teams play excellent defense, but I feel the offenses will have a better than expected showing in a game that should put up at least 175 points.
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