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Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers
2018-19 NBA Season, October 17. Time: Fulltime.
|TD Garden, Boston, MA|
|Boston Celtics||Philadelphia 76ers|
Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers will look to get their NBA season off to a winning start as they travel to Eastern Conference favourite the Boston Celtics on opening day. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 11am (AEDT).
The Celtics, who will play four of their first six on the road in what could shape as a somewhat difficult start to the season, will need to build momentum here, and go in as favourites.
After beating the 76ers in last year’s conference semi-finals before falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference finals, they will be happy to have a fit Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back on their roster.
The duo give them a major spark, and it’s questionable whether the Cavaliers would have come from behind to beat them last year had the duo been healthy last season. While Boston are still behind the top teams out West, Irving and Hayward still have a strong supporting cast, with youngsters Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum both having exceptional finishes last season.
If that quintet can gel and combine with veteran centre Al Horford (and his back-up, Aussie big man Aron Baynes), they are going to be tough to stop.
The 76ers, on the other hand, are looking to continue their excellent run from 2017-18. They were better than anyone could have anticipated last season, with the infamous ‘process’ finally starting to pay off.
After years at the bottom of the NBA, the Sixers finally had much of their talent obtained through the draft playing on the court, spearheaded by centre Joel Embiid and Aussie guard/point forward Ben Simmons.
Philadelphia improved out of sight and, as mentioned, fell to Boston in the conference semi-finals, but if Simmons doesn’t get a case of second-year syndrome, Embiid stays healthy and the other parts of their roster gel nicely, they will be in for another strong run this season.
Boston are at home and at full strength. They should pick up a tough win to open the season.
Boston by 8.
Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of the opening game of the NBA season from 11am (AEDT) and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.
Tip-off: 11am (AEDT)
Venue: TD Garden, Boston
TV: Live, ESPN
Online: Live, Foxtel app, Foxtel now, WatchESPN, NBA League Pass
Betting: Celtics $1.46, 76ers $2.74
Overall record: Played 549, Celtics 316, 76ers 233
Referees: Scott Foster, Ron Garretson. Dedric Taylor
Boston Celtics (expected)
Point guard: Kyrie Irving
Shooting guard: Jaylen Brown
Small forward: Jayson Tatum
Power forward: Gordon Hayward
Centre: Al Horford
Bench: Jabari Bird, Terry Rozier, P.J. Dozier, Aron Baynes, Walt Lemon, Marcus Morris, Smie Ojeleye, Marcus Smart, Daniel Teheis, Brad Wanamaker, Robert Williams, Guerschon Yabusele
Philadelphia 76ers (expected)
Point guard: Markelle Fultz
Shooting guard: Ben Simmons
Small forward: Robert Covington
Power forward: Dario Saric
Centre: Joel Embiid
Bench: JJ Redick, Jerryd Bayless, Jonah Bolden, Wilson Chandler, Markelle Fults, Amir Johnson, Furkan Korkmaz, TJ McConnell, Mike Muscala, Landry Shamet, Demetrius Jackson, Shake Milton