Boston at Philadelphia
Wells Fargo Center
Offensive Efficiency (hoopdata.com)
Boston: 107.1 points/100 possessions (6th in NBA)
Philadelphia: 103.2 points/100 possessions (16th)
Boston: 96.9 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)
Philadelphia: 102.9 points allowed/100 possessions (12th)
Probable Philadelphia starters: Jrue Holiday, Jodie Meeks, Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes
View from opposing bench: Philadunkia
Thumbnail: This is the first meeting of the season for Boston and Philadelphia. Last year the C’s took 3 out of 4. The Sixers have won 4 of their last 5, most recently a 117-97 victory over Cleveland on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Celtics have won 8 in a row, but have suffered just as many injuries in the process.
WHAT THE SIXERS DO WELL:
Run, run, run. As you would expect, the Sixers get up and down the floor quite well. It’s kinda been their thing in recent years. Not simply because they’re young and athletic, but also because they still lack a truly polished/reliable scorer in the half-court (sorry Andre). This year the Sixers are 3rd in the NBA in fast break points, averaging 18.4 points/game. They rebound the ball well (9th in defensive rebound rate at 75.4%) and look for Holiday to run the break. And for a team constantly on the move, Philly does a relatively good job of taking care of the basketball, committing under 14 turnovers per game.
WHAT THE SIXERS DO POORLY:
Consistency. When you strictly look at the numbers, the Sixers don’t appear to be half-bad. Their NBA rankings in many important statistical categories are actually pretty decent. Defensive efficiency (12th), opponent’s eFG% (7th), assist rate (7th), turnover rate (10th). But let’s be serious. We know the Sixers aren’t a good team. That’s why they’re 7-14. The reason for this statistical inflation? When the Sixers do win games, they make sure to win big. Of their 7 wins this season, 6 have been by double digits, and their average margin of victory is 15.7 points. Only problem is that only happens one-third of the time.
PLAYERS WHO MAKE ME WORRY:
Holiday and Lou Williams: The Sixers point guard duo is working out so far this season. Holiday is emerging as a very serviceable point guard in this league, and Williams has accepted his role as a bench player (not that he had a choice). Together, Holiday and Williams are combining for 10.5 assists/game between them, and as I mentioned, are taking care of the basketball.
Thaddeus Young: Not actually worried about him, but I’ll be paying attention to him. He did put up 20 and 26 points in the Sixers’ last two games, both victories. And let’s just say I don’t see the Sixers having enough offensively without another big contribution from Thaddeus.
PLAYERS WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY:
Iguodala: Look at Iggy’s average PPG over the last 4 seasons: 19.9 (’07-08), 18.8 (’08-09), 17.1 (’09-10) and only 13.9 this season. Not the direction you want to be going in if you’re 26 years old. Not to mention his eFG% is also a career low 46.5%. Honestly, I never understood what all the fuss was about with this guy.
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM THE CELTICS: Let’s see if they can make it through 48 minutes of basketball without any new injuries coming about. Seriously, I would settle for a recurring injury at this point, that’s how bad the Celtics’ luck has been. Other than that, tonight provides another big edge for the Celtics inside. KG-Brand? Shaq-A guy named Spencer? I like the Celtics’ chances.
PREDICTION: Celtics 101, Sixers 84