The Boston Celtics were heavily criticized after the Game 1 shocker from the Philadelphia 76ers. They won the game even without MVP Joel Embiid, but the 76ers have succumbed to the Celtics in back-to-back contests as Embiid has suited up in both Games 2 and 3. Embiid’s kryptonite remains the Celtics, as his current playoff record against them is 1-10.
As Boston has reclaimed home-court advantage in the series, the 76ers will try and claim Game 4 to keep the battle tight. If the Celtics steal two games in the city of Brotherly Love, this might be over on Tuesday night. The defense has been stellar for Boston in the last two tilts, which has swung the tide in their favor. Embiid has been getting tremendous numbers, but James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris have been struggling mightily, especially in the last two affairs.
As the momentum is in the hands of Boston, there are a couple of predictions for the squad heading to Game 4 on Sunday afternoon.
Derrick White will score 20+ points
Since the start of their 2022-23 campaign, the Celtics fanbase has called Derrick White their third-best player on both ends. He has been the connector and the complementary piece that has thrived with the core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart. In the series’ first three games, White has played an average of 30 minutes, but his numbers have not been eye-popping.
Aside from De’Anthony Melton, the perimeter defense of Philadelphia is below average in the NBA. Thus, White must become more aggressive in Game 4, and it will result in more buckets. In the last two contests, he has attempted nine shots each, but he can increase that number to 15, resulting in more points and more attempts at the charity stripe. With Harden looking uncomfortable in Games 2 and 3, Boston must pounce on that, and White’s shot creation is one of them.
Al Horford and Robert Williams III will combine 5+ blocks
From Game 2 of the Atlanta Hawks series to Game 1 against the 76ers, the excellent defense of the Celtics was glaringly missing. Head coach Joe Mazzulla prioritized their defense adjustments for Games 2 and 3 because the 76ers have shot below 40% from the field in both contests. Al Horford and Robert Williams III are the anchors of their defense, as they have combined for 11 swats in the first three tilts.
With Game 4 likely to be more tight and intense, the 76ers will continue to have difficulty manufacturing shots near the rim. The defense of Boston will be stifling and relentless in Game 4, as Horford and Williams III will combine for five or more blocks. It will be difficult for the bigs to tally the blocks on Embiid, but it will be more plausible on the 76ers’ slashers, such as James Harden and Tyrese Maxey.
The Celtics come out and earn a hard-earned victory
Since it could be the final contest of Philadelphia in front of their home crowd, the 76ers will come out roaring in the first period. An early double-digit lead is realistic, but the Celtics are known to stifle the momentum of home teams after the first punch is thrown. Unlike Game 3, wherein there were only five lead changes, there will be more than 10 in Game 4.
The 76ers will have the lead at critical junctures of the contest, even until the final quarter of play. However, they will fail to snatch the win because of the incredible firepower and superstar prowess of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Regarding clutch situations, Boston has the more talented bunch, which will propel them to a vital 3-1 series lead over Philadelphia.
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