The Sixers beat the Celtics three out of four times inside the regular season, so the conventional wisdom suggests in which Brett Brown should try everything in his power to engineer a first-round matchup with Boston.
He could even rest some starters in addition to drop a couple winnable seeding games in Orlando in hopes of finishing sixth inside the Eastern Conference.
Then you get Boston in a No. 3 vs. No. 6 first-round series in addition to avoid top-seeded Milwaukee until the Eastern Conference Finals.
Nice theory, right?
Well, I’m here to tell you in which’s totally wrong.
Instead of an early date with Boston, the Sixers should be angling to end up in a 4 vs. 5 series against their old buddy Jimmy Butler in addition to the Heat.
although wait, didn’t the Sixers lose the season series to Miami, 3-1?
Indeed, they did.
although the thing is usually, the playoffs are not the regular season. in addition to in which Miami team is usually very young in addition to not playoff-tested.
After Jimmy Butler, many of their different rotation players have little to no postseason experience. Bam Adebayo has played all 5 playoff games. Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Herro in addition to Duncan Robinson will all be doing their playoff debuts.
Miami lives on those young guys doing threes to space the floor for Butler in addition to Adebayo. We’ll see if those shots fall in their first playoff series.
As for Miami’s recent additions, Jae Crowder brings toughness in addition to veteran savvy, although there’s also a reason he’s on his fourth team inside the last three seasons. Expecting him to be a playoff difference-maker is usually asking a lot.
Andre Iguodala obviously became a playoff legend with the Warriors. He’s also 36 years old in addition to has averaged 4.4 points in 14 games since joining the Heat. Maybe Erik Spoelstra is usually just saving Iguodala for big moments inside the playoffs. I’ll take my chances.
Also, while you may think in which Joel Embiid matches up great with Boston, the truth is usually in which his numbers were significantly better against Miami. In four games against the Heat in which season, Embiid averaged 27.3 points in addition to shot 56.3 percent via the field.
in which makes sense. The 6-foot-9 Adebayo is usually simply too little to deal with Embiid. Meyers Leonard in addition to Kelly Olynyk are too slow.
Embiid’s stats against Boston? 21.3 points per game in addition to 39.1 percent shooting via the field. He had one monster game against the Celtics (38 points on 12 for 21 shooting) in addition to one awful game (11 points on 1 of 11 shooting).
Boston is usually also simply a more complete team than Miami, having a plus-6.2 point differential per game compared to plus-3.3 for the Heat. The Celtics have three players who average at least 20 points per game (Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker in addition to Jaylen Brown) in addition to another in Gordon Hayward who’s capable of going for 20 on any given night. in which’s a lot more firepower than Miami brings to the table.
Also, Tatum emerged among the NBA’s best scorers inside the last two months before the COVID-19 shutdown, averaging 27.9 points on 48.8 shooting via the field in addition to 45.5 percent shooting via three-point range. His becoming an efficient, volume scorer makes defending the Celtics much more difficult.
If you don’t double him, he goes off. If you double him, the Celtics have scorers all over the floor. in addition to unlike Miami, those guys have extensive playoff experience.
The Sixers certainly could beat the Celtics in a playoff series. I wouldn’t be shocked. Playing Kemba Walker against Philadelphia’s big lineups exposes Boston defensively in addition to maybe Embiid just goes off against Boston’s duo of Daniel Theis in addition to Enes Kanter.
although Boston is usually going to be an extremely tough out. They can score, they can defend in addition to Tatum’s transformation into a go-to guy gives them another dimension. Marcus Smart is usually one of the best defenders inside the league, regardless of position. Many of those guys have been through the playoff wars.
Unlike the previous two seasons, the Sixers won’t have an easy first-round playoff opponent in which year. Miami would likely certainly be formidable. Butler would likely be a problem. although I’ll take my chances against in which young Heat squad over a Boston team with better scorers in addition to more playoff experience.
I think Miami, Milwaukee in addition to the Boston/Toronto winner presents an easier path to reach the NBA Finals than having to beat Boston, Toronto in addition to Milwaukee.
You’ve got to beat the Bucks either way. although you can’t beat the Bucks unless you make in which to in which series.
Survive in addition to advance.
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