Today's' Celtics' Game is a Must-Win, Here's Why:

Today is a must win for the Celtics because they are facing the 76ers, an opponent in the eastern conference, with a potential league MVP, in contention for the championship in the opinions of most reputable analysts. With a loss, they undermine the confidence in the team on being a real force in the east.

A Quick Look at the 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers are the current fourth seed in the eastern conference. They are 8th in team defensive rating, 4.2 points from first place. They are 14th in team offensive rating, 5 points from first place.The 76ers have won 7 of their last 10 games, and their best player, Joel Embiid, currently averages 29.5 PPG (points per game), 11 RPG (rebounds per game), 4.5 APG (assists per game), 1 STL (steals per game), and 1.5 BPG (blocks per game) on 60.7 % true shooting.  

In the past 5 games, Embiid has averaged 33.2 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.8 SPG, and 1.8 BPG. Specifically, against the Celtics, Embiid in 3 games has managed to average only 26 PPG. 11.9 RPG, 5.7 APG on 40.7% FG and 26.7% 3PT. Our defense obviously influencing the superstar big, evidenced by similar free throw percentages from the games against the Boston Celtics compared to the rest of the league teams. However, in those same 5 past games, Embiid has scored more than 30 points three times, with 40 points in a win in the last game against the third seeded Cavaliers. He’s a favorite to win the league’s most valuable player award, alongside Nikola Jokic.

The 76ers roster also includes all-star caliber talent in Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey. Tobias Harris scores 19 points per game, while providing 7 rebounds and 4 assists per game. Maxey scores a similar 17 points per game, while contributing about 4 rebounds and 5 assists per game. Matisse Thybulle is a defensive threat, averaging 2 steals and a block per game. The rest of the team works together to create an intimidating presence both offensively and defensively.

Unfortunately, in a recent trade package that included Seth Curry, Ben Simmons, Paul Millsap, Andre Drummond, and James Harden, the 76ers lost a core piece, Seth Curry. During this season’s tenure on the 76ers, Curry was averaging 15 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists while shooting 40% from the three. He’s now gone. Harden is also currently injured and will be out in tonight’s game against the 76ers. At this moment in time, they are not at full-strength.

A Celtics Win: An Achievable Reality

Roster issues in the 76ers after a blockbuster trade that included James Harden lessens the stress on the Celtics defense considerably and makes a win the more likely outcome.

The Celtics’ recent schedule has been criticized for relative ease. After a recent win against the other MVP in contention, Nikola Jokic, and his Nuggets, there is a wait to see if the Celtics are truly a competitive team. The Celtics have been enjoying the best defense in the league, with multiple All-NBA caliber players contributing to a league best eight game win streak. Their recent trade, which swapped Romeo Langford, Josh Richardson, and two picks for Derrick White, has been a success. Since the trade, their record has been 2-0. They’ve been winning even with less-than-stellar performances from their star offensive players. The team is more than capable than defeating Philadelphia.

A Quick Look at the ‘new’ Celtics

Since the new year, the Boston Celtics have become the number one defense in the league, and their star center, Robert Williams, boasts the best defensive rating in the entire league, at 101.2. Multiple players find themselves on the top of defensive statistics lists, such as Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, and Jaylen Brown. They are evidently playing well as a team, on an 8-game win streak, and are playing well despite shooting woes from their best players. Through the new year, their record is 16-6. A massive turnaround from their 17-19 start. 

The Celtics did not let themselves coast on their good record and were very active during the trade deadline. They traded for Derrick White and Daniel Theis, and traded away Josh Richardson, Dennis Schroeder, Enes Freedom, Romeo Langford, and a couple of draft picks. These moves have proved worthwhile, with the Celtics getting two wins since they were made.

The Takeaway

Statistics support Boston’s claim for being an elite team. They’ve gotten hot and stayed hot. A great trade deadline and two recent wins against the Nuggets and Hawks have given more legitimacy to their streak.  The team has every reason to keep on winning. Another win, against their conference rivals, cements them as a true power who can vie for a championship. A loss, and questions regarding their actual impact are going to gain a lot of traction. Let’s see if the Celtics’ luck continues.


Want more Celtics content?! Check these out:

Another Celtics Win, 12-6 to Start New Year (Highlights)

Top 10 Celtics Play since the New Year

Why Rob Williams is the big the Celtics needed

New Year, New Celtics?


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