The second round of NBA playoff betting action officially gets underway on Saturday night in Beantown, where the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers are set to square off in what should be the first game of a very interesting series.
There aren’t all that many teams in the history of the NBA to be a No. 8 seed in the second round of the playoffs, but that is what we are seeing this year out of the Sixers. That being said, we are questioning just how good this team really is. Philly was able to beat the Chicago Bulls in six games in its first round series, but after Game 1, the Bulls were nowhere near as strong as they were for the mass majority of the season. We know that it is going to come down to defense if the 76ers are going to find their way into the Eastern Conference Finals. Lou Williams and Andre Iguodala are really the only relatively consistent offensive threats that the team has, though Jrue Holiday became a sharpshooting three-point specialist in the first round and averaged 18.2 points per game. Sure, there are five players that averaged in double figures in scoring in the first round, but there were also games like Game 5 in which the Sixers failed to reach even 70 points and just looked absolutely atrocious.
It was never easy for the Celtics, but they were able to finish off the Atlanta Hawks in six games in the first round of the playoffs, setting up this series with the 76ers. There has to be a shred of hope in this Boston locker room, knowing that the Bulls are now out of the way, and there might be one last run for the old guard in green. Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce are all coming off of great series against the Hawks, and Rajon Rondo was just a machine once again in virtually every single aspect of the game. This is a team that is starting to look like a title contender once again, and if it plays up to its potential, there just isn’t a team out there that is going to stop it aside from the Miami Heat. What we do love about this Boston team though, is that it is playing defense like it did when it was competing for titles. The Hawks didn’t score more than 87 points in a game in the first round, and the last time that the Celtics conceded more than 87 points was back on April 20th.
The Final Word: This first game is going to be one for the Celtics. In the three games this year, the home team won all three and did so by margins of 32, 13, and 24. We just don’t think that Philly is going to be able to keep up, especially after the emotional play that the team has had over the course of the last two weeks taking on the Bulls.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Boston Celtics Game 1 Pick: Boston Celtics -5
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.