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The Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics, coming off an NBA Finals appearance, match up for the first game of the 2022-23 NBA season. Kade Kimble makes his prediction and pick for the game.
ANALYSIS

Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers Prediction, Pick: Can James Harden Control the 76ers' Offense?

The 2022-23 NBA season is finally here, and it kicks off with a matchup between the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics.

The 76ers are coming off a season where they made the playoffs while playing without their second star for most of the season before trading for James Harden. They didn’t have enough time to figure things out, but after a solid offseason, they’re confident that they’re ready for a title run led by Harden and Joel Embiid.

The Boston Celtics also had a solid offseason following their loss to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals last season. They beat plenty of good teams en route to a Finals appearance and it seems as if they’ve gotten over the hump after being consistently good for the past nearly a decade.

Let’s take a look ahead of the first game of the new NBA season.

Celtics vs 76ers Start Time and Where to Watch

  • Date: October 18, 2022
  • Game Time: 7:30 pm ET
  • Where to Watch: TNT

Celtics vs 76ers Odds

Spread: 76ers +3.5 (-110), Celtics -3.5 (-104)

Total: Over 215 (-107), Under 215 (-105)

Moneyline: 76ers (+145), Celtics (-129)

Click Here for Celtics vs. 76ers Odds

Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers Prediction

The 76ers' new-look squad is definitely exciting to look at. They brought in role players and depth with Danuel House and PJ Tucker, who played alongside Harden in Houston. Of course, you have the big three of Harden, Embiid, and Tyrese Maxey, who may be on the verge of a breakout season.

There’s also the argument that the Celtics had a better off-season after acquiring Malcolm Brogdon and Blake Griffin. They also brought in Danilo Gallinari, but he, unfortunately, tore his ACL before this season.

Both teams have expectations of making the NBA Finals this season, and could both see themselves as top teams in the Eastern Conference. Anything less than the fourth seed in their conference seems like a disappointing season, and for the 76ers, a big start would mean everything. The Celtics were able to make it to the top seed in the conference last season despite a slow start, so there shouldn’t be worry there. But now, they’ll be playing with an interim head coach.

To the matchup itself, the Celtics will have to focus on stopping Embiid, as he is by far the biggest threat and an MVP candidate on the season. Without Robert Williams III for the first half of the season, the Celtics are going to need Horford to play some big-time minutes. The guards of Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown will match up well with Maxey and Harden on the defensive side of the ball.

Harden will likely be tasked with more playmaking duties while also having to create his own looks, leaving a lot of this game in his hands for the production outside of Embiid.

Guarding Embiid is no easy task, though, as he averaged over 30 points per game last season. The 76ers offense could very easily control the game though, as their guards are going to have to show out if they want to give themselves a chance in this game.

We know what Jayson Tatum is capable of, and we know the Celtics are able to find ways to win games, and they’ll do just that. They are playing with an interim coach, though, and a newer roster. It’ll be interesting to see how they respond to adversity. The 76ers didn’t have as many big changes since last season. 

The Celtics are 3.5-point favorites following their last season, but to me, they have more to figure out this season than the 76ers. For opening night, give me the 76ers as 3.5-point underdogs.

Celtics vs. 76ers Pick

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Article Author

NBANFL

Kade has spent his last 3 years writing about the Oklahoma City Thunder. He has also been following the NBA for the past 11 years. Just recently, Kade began co-hosting the Boomtown Hoops Podcast.

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