December 2, 2023

Back at The Center—Sixers-Celtics Game 3 Preview


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After an ugly 121-87 loss in game two, the Sixers return home to face the Celtics in game three tonight at the Wells Fargo Center.

Prior to the game, Joel Embiid will be presented with the Michael Jordan trophy after being named the NBA MVP on Tuesday night.

With the Wells Fargo Center sure to be rocking tonight, let’s take a look at how the Sixers can take a 2-1 series lead in front of their home crowd:

Perimeter Defense

With Embiid back manning the paint in game two, the Celtics had to find other ways to score after scoring 66 points in the paint in game one.

Early on, the Celtics attacked Embiid, who is playing with a sprained LCL in his right knee. However, the big man looked no worse for wear, collecting five blocks in the first half on Wednesday.

The Celtics then turned to the 3-point line, a strategy that paid off big time. Before the game, Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla said he wanted his team to shoot 50 threes after only shooting 26 in game 1. His team responded by putting up 51 triples and making 20, an impressive 39.2% shooting percentage from beyond the arc. Take Al Horford, who went 1-8 from three, out of the equation, and that puts the C’s at 44.2% from three.

The Sixers will have to do a better job of running Boston off the the three-point line tonight. While Philly does not have a ton of great perimeter defenders, guys like De’Anthony Melton, PJ Tucker, and Tobias Harris need to find a way to force players like Tatum, Brown, White, and Brogdon to take either contested shots or drive into the paint where Embiid will be lurking.

More Production From Role Players

Minus garbage time players, the Sixers’ bench scored a combined 11 points in game two after scoring 20 points in game one (17 of those came from De’Anthony Melton).

Of course, the old adage is that role players play better at home. This will have to be the case for the Sixers tonight.

Teams that win in the playoffs always seem to have that one role player that becomes a star for a few weeks. The Sixers certainly have a plethora of options who can go off for a handful of games. Guys like De’Anthony Melton, Georges Niang, and Jalen McDaniels have shown that they are capable of lighting up the scoreboard at different times this season.

Typically, you know what you are going to get from Embiid, Harden, and Maxey, but they will need some help, not only tonight, but for the rest of the series if the Sixers want to advance. Look for someone to step up and compliment the big three in the Sixers’ first home game in 18 days tonight.

Game Information

Tip off: 7:30pm E.T., ESPN, 97.5 The Fanatic

Projected Starters

Boston: Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford

Philadelphia: James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris, PJ Tucker, Joel Embiid

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