The Eastern Conference semifinals is set to tip off this weekend. In what could be the best matchup of the playoffs so far, the Philadelphia 76ers will take on the Boston Celtics in what is slowly becoming a recent playoff rivalry. There is a lot of hype here, but this series all depends on the health of Joel Embiid. If he misses a few games, the 76ers likely have no shot at taking down the defending Eastern Conference champions.
76ers vs. Celtics predictions
Odds to win series: Celtics -310, 76ers +250
Regular season record: Celtics: 57-25, 76ers: 54-28
Head-to-head record: Celtics 3-1
During the regular season, the Celtics won the series 3-1 but almost every game was close. Of all the four games these teams played, none were decided by double digits. I think the majority of the games in this series will be tight as well if Embiid can play. I expect Embiid to at least try to give it a go in Game 1 as he recovers from a knee sprain.
Pick: Celtics in 6 games
Homecourt advantage will help in this series, but I also see the Celtics taking a road game. If Embiid is not at full strength, that significantly hinders Philadelphia’s chances of taking a road game in this series. They’ll need to do that to win with only three games at home.
The 76ers do have plenty of firepower with James Harden, Tobias Harris, and Tyrese Maxey but they need their best player at 100% to be competitive. If Embiid can recover from the knee issue completely, this series could go the distance.