Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers
Wednesday, 5/23/12, 8:00 PM EST, TV: ESPN
Opening Point Spread: Philadelphia -2
Current Betting Line: Philadelphia -1.5
Opening Total: 174.5
Current Total: 175.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Boston will look to close out this best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series in six games on Wednesday night, as the team comes off a 101-85 victory as 5.5-point home favorites in Game 5. “We defended. We changed everything we did with our energy,” commented Celtics guard Paul Pierce. He shares the team lead in averaging 19.3 points during the 2012 NBA playoffs with center Kevin Garnett, scoring 16 points and hitting all nine shots from the free throw line last time out. Boston is 17-13 ATS as an underdog and the “under” is 18-12 in that situation.
The Celtics are being led on the floor offensively by the play of point guard Rajon Rondo, who has notched at least 13 assists in each of the five games in this series. Boston will need that continued production in hopes of closing things out, especially considering that forward Brandon Bass isn’t likely to score 27 points again, as he broke his previous career playoff high of 19 on Monday night.
Philadelphia will need to lean heavily on its 4-0 record following a loss in the postseason this year in hopes of pushing this series to a Game 7, which is entirely possible due to neither team winning consecutive games. “We’re on the edge right now,” commented 76ers forward Elton Brand. “There’s no comfortable feelings anywhere around here.” The 76ers also managed to produce a 17-13 record in the first game following a loss during the regular season. Philadelphia is 29-22 ATS as a favorite and the “over” is 33-18 in that situation.
The 76ers must try and avoid a big deficit in this contest, trailing the Celtics by 18-plus points at some stage in the past three games. Philadelphia has struggled on the offensive end since scoring 109 points against the Chicago Bulls in Game 2 of its first-round series, not scoring above 92 points in any of the past nine games. The team is averaging 87.0 points per game during the postseason after scoring 93.6 during the regular season.
Bettors will likely back the 76ers due to the home team being 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings, while the Celtics are 5-6 in the playoffs this year.
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