That nice cushion the 76ers had in the Atlantic Division a few weeks ago is gone.
Philadelphia has gone 2-8 in its last 10 games, most recently losing to the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday. Now the Celtics are in Philly Wednesday night (7 p.m., CSNNE) for a game that has serious division title repercussions, as the C’s are right on the 76ers heels. If they can somehow overtake Philly and hold on to the division crown, they’ll land the No. 4 seed.
The teams haven’t played one another yet this season — which is a good thing for the C’s. The 76ers jumped out of the gates and surprised the rest of the NBA, while the C’s fell flat. But the two teams took 180-degree turns recently, with the Celtics winning four straight going into last night’s game against Houston.
So what should you expect in this one?
Low scoring: The 76ers have only allowed 100 points or more twice since Jan. 21 (six total), and the Celtics have only allowed 100-plus four times all season. Both teams are allowing an average of under 90 points per game, too, with the 76ers leading the NBA (87.5 point allowed).
Bench is key: The 76ers bench is one of the best in the NBA. Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young, and Evan Turner (“The Night Team”) are three young players who could start on many NBA teams. Williams actually leads the 76ers in scoring (15.7 ppg). The C’s bench of Mickael Pietrus, Avery Bradley and Chris Wilcox will have to match that intensity.
A big one: The Celtics are coming off a game against the Rockets last night, and they’re going up against a talented 76ers team with no day off. It will prove quite the challenge for the veteran bunch. The Celtics know how important this division game is, but so does a Sixers team tired of the C’s picking on them.