The NBA is back and the season tipoff features one of the league’s oldest rivalries as the Boston Celtics host the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Celtics have dominated the headlines the last few weeks for all the wrong reasons while the Sixers have their dynamic duo in camp together for the first time.
Let’s take a closer look at this matchup as we settle in for a long season of NBA action.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics
Tuesday, October 18, 2022 – 07:30 PM EDT at TD Garden
Celtics in the News for the Wrong Reasons
The line for this game opened at Celtics -5 on top-rated sportsbooks, and has been steamed all the way down to -2 at the moment. Before we go any further, there's no way around mentioning what happened to Celtics head coach Ime Udoka.
There's no reason to get into the details other than to say he will not be coaching the team this season after he was suspended by the organization for inappropriate conduct with a staff member.
That makes handicapping the Celtics in the early part of the season very tricky.
Ime Udoka's Influence
While they are easily one of the league’s most talented teams, it would also be foolish to ignore the impact that Ime Udoka had on this team, especially defensively.
Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown made huge leaps in the playoffs and will look to build on that this season. The addition of Malcolm Brogdon is a huge pickup for this team.
When healthy, Brogdon can be a real floor general also adding to the Celtics' length on the wing.
Sixers Open Season as Road Dogs
There are few players in the NBA with more to prove this season than James Harden. As good as he’s been during his career, last year he looked washed up in the playoffs.
That’s what he was brought to Philadelphia for and nothing else will really matter to Sixers fans. He’s come into camp this season looking like he’s in much better shape and he’ll also benefit from getting more practice time with Joel Embiid.
Speaking of Embiid, he’ll be very motivated as well considering he probably feels like he was snubbed for MVP last season. Whether or not you agree with that, he was certainly one of the three best players in the league last year.
He is a handful for this Celtics lineup to handle and with Robert Williams out until December, he’ll most likely put up big numbers tonight.
There’s a lot of pressure in Philly which is nothing new but Harden and head coach Doc Rivers will definitely be motivated to quiet the skeptics. Harden did something few expected and took a pay cut, which allowed the team to sign veterans like P.J Tucker to solidify their lineup.
Another player to look out for is Tyrese Maxey, who made a big leap last year and doesn’t seem like he’s done yet.
The injury to Robert Williams was the clincher for this pick. Following the NBA odds, the Sixers will be extremely motivated tonight and with nobody to slow down Embiid, other players can feed off of open looks with all of the attention he is sure to get.
I also like P.J Tucker to try and set the tone as a new Sixer by getting in Tatum’s face. This will be a close game, but I think the Sixers win a close one 110-106 as my NBA pick.
Score Prediction: 76ers 110 - Celtics 106
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product