Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics
Monday, December 20, 2021- 7:30 PM EST at TD Garden
76ers have lost three games in a row most recently against the Brooklyn Nets. Kevin Durant showed he was the best player on the floor, besting Joel Embiid once again. While Embiid is a great player, his conditioning and basketball IQ need work. Durant is a great shooter and great from the perimeter and Embiid is great in the post.
At the end of the game, Embiid spent too much time on the perimeter trying to mimic the skills of Kevin Durant rather than playing to his strengths. The Nets looked much more poised and organized in crunch time.
This is something that Embiid will need to work on. Embiid had an impressive stat line for fantasy basketball players with 32 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists, yet he did not look to be in control with the game on the line.
Tobias Harris has been an issue all season. With the absence of Ben Simmons, the Sixers need Harris to be better. Shooting 3-17 and 0-5 from three-point land is not going to cut it. Harris was effective last season when Simmons was out, so it's a surprise to many that he's unable to pick up the slack this year. The Sixers need Harris to be better if they're going to be a contender in the East.
The loss dropped against Brooklyn dropped Philadelphia to 0-6 in Atlantic division games. The 76ers will definitely be motivated to win a division game tonight against the Celtics. The Sixers have high expectations, but injuries and roster mismanagement have been a problem this season. Even if GM Daryl Morey is able to swing a big trade for Simmons, will the team have enough time to integrate their new pieces?
The Celtics were coming off a seven-point win over the New York Knicks with both teams being weakened by covid protocols. Josh Richardson stepped up scoring 27 points, his highest point output for the season. This is great news for the Celtics, as they need more than Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to be effective if they're going to be a winning team.
The list of Celtics on the covid protocol is long. Sam Hauser, Juancho Hernangómez , Al Horford, Jabari Parker, Broderick Thomas, and Grant Williams are all in the protocols right now. In addition, Dennis Schröder and Romeo Langford are on the injury report as well.
The Celtics are short-handed this evening and will be relying on their stars even more than usual. This game will mean a lot in the standings and it's disappointing that the teams will not be close to full strength.
Robert Williams III is having a great season for the Celtics averaging 9 points per game and 8 rebounds per game. Williams is becoming the center that the Celtics need as he is strong enough in the paints were by your own protection but it's not completely vulnerable on the perimeter like some centers.
The combination of Horford and Williams has been excellent. With Horford most likely out this evening, there will be even more pressure on Williams to produce. The Celtics have high hopes but the transition under the new coach hasn’t been smooth.
The pairing of Brown and Tatum might not be everything the Celtics and their fans have hoped. If this season ends in disappointment, maybe it will be time to shake up this roster.
Robert Williams vs. Joel Embiid
Horford is one of the best in the league at defending Embiid. His absence tonight will put a lot of pressure on Robert Williams. This will be a great test for Williams to go against one of the best in the league. Williams is definitely quick and athletic enough, but does he have the size. If Williams is able to match Horford's ability in slowing down Embiid, the Celtics have a great chance to win. If Embiid has a big night the Sixers have a great chance to win.
The Celtics have the deeper roster and should be able to pull out a home victory. These teams always play each other close but I trust Tatum more than Embiid in the clutch moments. Tatum is better in condition with a higher basketball IQ. I will take the star that shines brighter, Jayson Tatum. For our best bets, today’s play of the day is the Boston Celtics.
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