The only NBA playoff series still going at the moment involves the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers. With the Milwaukee Bucks being torched by the Miami Heat, which led to a coach’s firing, the winner of this game might be the favorite to win the NBA title. And BetOnline patrons, who have already been surprised by the ax that has come down on Mike Budenholzer, Nick Nurse, and Monty Williams, might be seeing the end of another coach’s gig when the losing team is determined.
Joe Mazzella is the coach who came on board in an interim capacity. He is an “accidental head coach,” as it were because there was nothing to expect until the Celtics canned Imo Udoka for some nasty things that we still don’t even know about. He guided the team into the #2 seed. He has, at times, looked like someone in a little over his head – just a little, mind you – when it comes to making the adjustments necessary in playoff basketball.
Doc Rivers came into this series as a coach with vastly more experience and had, of course, won a title when he was with the Celtics and had the “Big Three” of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. But he knows how the ball bounces; he is now in his fourth head coaching job, and Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, who had made Rivers the president of the team after he purchased the club for a record price, got disappointed when Rivers failed to meet expectations.
Maybe the same thing will happen if Rivers and his 76ers don’t win this Game 7. This team is equipped with what it needs to win, including the reigning MVP (Joel Imbiid) and a past MVP (James Harden). With GM Daryl Morey, they are playing the analytics game. And the playoff field beyond this involves teams – the Heat, Nuggets, and Lakers – who Philadelphia can beat.
So failure may not be an option. Remember, there are some viable coaching candidates out there, and Budenholzer and Nurse, for example, haven’t signed with anyone yet.
The winning coach moves on to a date with the Miami Heat. The losing coach may find himself in new surroundings next season.
In the NBA Eastern Conference playoff betting odds placed on this game by the folks at BetOnine, the Celtics are favored:
Boston Celtics -6.5
Philadelphia 76ers +6.5
Over 201.5 Points -114
Under 201.5 Points -106
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We think we can conclude that the defensive edge resides with the Celtics, who really turned on that part of their repertoire in Game 6 when they held the Sixers to just 13 points. Meanwhile, Jayson Tatum, who was recently named first-team All-NBA but has hurt his team with very slow starts in some of these games, came on huge with 16 fourth-quarter points. If they can get Tatum off to a better start in Game 7, not only will they have a better chance to win, but this will also have a real impact on the total since Tatum has taken 24% of the team’s shots in the series.
We’re not sure how the officials will call this game, but the Sixers have found ways to get to the line, and when they do, they have been almost pristine, hitting 88% of the time. Embiid and Harden have taken 96 free throws between them. That’s the game Philadelphia is going to have to try to play. The odds set the NBA betting sites are pretty high and they might get affected by the upcoming games.
There have been six games in this series. In four of those games, both the Sixers and Celtics have scored in triple digits. We think that bodes well for an “over” on the total, which these oddsmakers may have positioned too low based on the grind in Game 6.
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