First place in the Atlantic Division is going to be on the line on Friday night in NBA betting action, when the Boston Celtics duke it out with the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Celtics have been in decent form, winning two straight and four out of six. The road trip as a whole hasn’t been fantastic, but this is the final game on this stretch of eight in a row away from Beantown. Head Coach Doc Rivers is going to be reminding his side of just how badly it was clocked here two weeks ago against these Sixers, losing 103-71. The win over the Milwaukee Bucks last night was notable, as they hadn’t lost since acquiring Monta Ellis from the Golden State Warriors. If Paul Pierce could have gotten one more rebound, there would have actually been four double-doubles on the team in the same night. Pierce did have 25 points and nine boards, though. Brandon Bass accounted for 12 points and 10 rebounds, Kevin Garnett had 16 points and 10 boards, while Rajon Rondo was good for 10 points and 14 assists. Rondo has been in a lot better form and has been an effective point guard as we have expected since knowing that he is going to be staying here in Beantown for the rest of the year.
The 76ers were beaten by the New York Knicks on Wednesday night, and now, they could fall out of first place in the Atlantic Division in this calendar year. It would be a real problem if that were to happen, because with so many teams playing so well in the middle of the Eastern Conference, just making the playoffs could become problematic. The good news is that the defense really does continue to play well for the Sixers. They are allowing just 87.5 points per game on the season, and that number dips to a whopping 84.1 points per game here at the Wells Fargo Center. Opponents are only shooting 40.9 percent from the field and 28.8 percent from beyond the arc in this building, and that is a remarkable stat for a team that has never really been amongst the elite teams in this league on this side of the ball. Head Coach Doug Collins deserves all the credit in the world for what he has done for this team, though there is obviously a long way to go to get the job done.
The Final Word: We do think that the Sixers are the better squad, but Boston is the team in better form right now and the one that we want to back. We think that the Celtics come into the City of Brotherly Love with a nasty attitude, and when this one is said and done with, vengeance will have been met for that 30+ point beating from earlier in the month.
Boston Celtics @ Philadelphia 76ers Free Pick: Boston Celtics +6.5
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.