NBA Playoffs: Players, Schedule, Boston-Philadelphia East Favorites
Race-1 is scheduled for 1:30 a.m. on Monday night. The series will determine the big favorite of the conference finals. The injury to the likely MVP of the season has Philadelphia worried
The anticipated finale in the East probably. Boston-Philadelphia is a second round playoff challenge with tradition, charm and quality. And after the surprising elimination of the Milwaukee Bucks, winning this series already means looking forward to the finals, albeit with the greatest respect for the Knicks and Heat, the “tough” protagonists of the other conference semi-finals. Race-1 is scheduled in Boston, starting at 1.30am on Italian night between Monday and Tuesday.
Boston (2)-Philadelphia (3)
In the first round playoffs, the Celtics beat Atlanta 4-2 and the 76ers beat Brooklyn 4-0.
Boston: Smart, White, Brown, Tatum, Horford. Philadelphia: Harden, Maxey, Harris, Tucker, Embiid.
The shadow of Joel Embiid’s injured right knee stretches – of an unpredictable magnitude – across the series. The big man from Cameroon, likely Mvp of the season, is just waiting for the official announcement for Game-1 it’s more no than yes for Game-1 in the words of Coach Rivers after the injury sustained in the third first round game in the nets. Truth or Pretactics? We only find out a few hours before the start of the series in Beantown. And when and (from) when will he play, under what conditions will he be? Everything changes, of course, depending on the answer. Philly has yet to come up with a plan B that can only go through Harden on offense, but finished on the rim with just 24% completion against the Nets. He no longer has the continuity as a first offensive end, but he can place a couple of big starts that mark the streak, giving Embiid time to recover without it already being on red alert. The 76ers’ defense was eighth in the league (112.7), a team certainty, but holding up against the Jay’s won’t be a cakewalk. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown finished the six episodes of the series with Atlanta scoring 27.2 and 26.7 respectively, Tatum less efficient than the regular season, Brown instead even scoring 54% from the field and notably 51.5% from 3 Scores despite a damn effort on free throws. Tucker is a defense specialist who will try to contain at least one, but Harris is called overtime, to a job outside of his comfort zone.
Boston was awarded 3 out of 4 regular season challenges. Maxey, who came off the bench a couple of times back then, was keeping to just 10 points per game and shooting 35%. His performance will probably be better, he averaged 21.8 points against Brooklyn, with a 47% efficiency, but how much better? Smart, White and Brown are top-flight defensemen who will seek to test the inexperience of the 76ers’ 22-year-old Texas fullback, the series’ obvious X-factor. With Embiid at his best and safe from Game 1, Philly should have been trusted, the Celtics have no antidotes for him because Horford no longer has the athleticism to contain him and Robert Williams lacks the physical and mental stamina. But as it is, with a big question mark over the physical condition of the African center, it becomes logical to bet on the Celtics, even if they didn’t look unbeatable against Atlanta. So 4-2 for the Greens.
April 30 – 12:15 p.m
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