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Playoff Prediction: Celtics vs 76ers

Philadelphia 76ers’ Tobias Harris (12) fouls Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Boston Celtics (48-24) vs Philadelphia 76ers (42-30)

It’s official. The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers will face off in the first round of the 2019-2020 NBA playoffs. The Celtics enter completely healthy, while the 76ers enter without All-Star point guard, Ben Simmons. Here are my predictions for each game during this series.

Game One

Overview: Despite the game being played on a neutral site, the 76ers are disadvantaged simply because they have struggled this season without their home fans. The Celtics will double Joel Embiid in the paint and force the Sixers’ role players to step up. Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward will combine for over 50 points and the Celtics will jump out to a (1-0) series lead.

Top Performer(s): Joel Embiid (34 points, 14 rebounds)

Winner: Boston Celtics (1-0)

Game Two

Overview: Boston will play solid defensively all game and contain Embiid down low. Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker will heat up from behind the arc and Daniel Thies will control the paint. Not only will the C’s take a 2-0 series lead but they will win by upwards of 20 points in game two.

Top Performer(s): Jayson Tatum (31 points, six three-pointers)

Winner: Boston Celtics (2-0)

Game Three

Overview: After an embarrassing loss in game two, the Sixers will bounce back and shift the momentum of the series. Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown will struggle with fouls early in the game, forcing Boston to play out of their bench. Joel Embiid will overcome the double teams inside and stellar three-point shooting from Josh Richardson will push the series to 2-1. 

Top Performer(s): Joel Embiid (39 points), Josh Richardson (24 points, 5 three-pointers)

Winner: Philadelphia 76ers (2-1)

Game Four

Overview: The Celtics bounce back after a game three loss and dominate the Sixers in game four. All five starters for the C’s will be in double figures. Josh Richardson who played phenomenal in game three will be shut down by Marcus Smart most of the game. The Celtics will take a 3-1 series lead and begin to look ahead to round two of the playoffs.

Top Performer(s): Jayson Tatum (36 points)

Winner: Boston Celtics (3-1)

Game Five

Overview: Despite the 76ers playing hard to stay alive, an all-around dominant performance by the Celtics will close out the series, 4-1. Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown will lead the way for the C’s, each scoring over 20 points. The Celtics will cruise past the 76ers only to face a stronger Raptors squad in the second round. 

Top Performer(s): Jaylen Brown (28 points), Gordon Hayward (23 points, five assists, three steals)

Winner: Boston Celtics (4-1)

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