BOSTON CELTICS (31-27)
at PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (23-35)
Tip-off: Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. ET
Line: Boston -2.5, Total: 184.5
The struggling 76ers are looking to prevent another losing streak when they wrap up their season series with the surging Celtics on Tuesday night.
Boston has won three of its past four contests, including high-scoring wins at Phoenix (113-88) and at Utah (110-107) in its most recent road game. Philadelphia has dropped eight of its past nine games SU, but has won two in a row ATS. The Sixers won outright over Golden State at home on Saturday, but fell back to the losing column with a three-point loss at Washington on Sunday. These teams have met three times this season with Philly taking the first two (SU and ATS) and Boston winning the most recent meeting 92-79 on Dec. 8.
Which Atlantic Division rival will come out on top Tuesday night? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. Both StatFox Gary -- who is 6-0 ATS in March and 82% ATS (14-3) since Feb. 20 -- and StatFox Scott (30-15 ATS, 67% since Feb. 3) have been on fire in NBA Best Bets. Scott is now 57% ATS (100-76-1) for the season, while Gary is 54% ATS (77-67-4). StatFox Brian is also heating up with a 75% ATS (6-2) mark in his past five days, and a 58% ATS record (14-10) since the All-Star break. Since February began, the experts are a collective 58.2% ATS (106-76), including 59.1% ATS (13-9) in March. For NBA Totals, Scott is catching fire with an 8-3-1 (73%) mark since Feb. 22 to raise his season record to 57% (84-64-1) in Totals.
SF Paul Pierce (18.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 4.5 APG) has been the catalyst for both of the Celtics’ two straight wins with 26.0 PPG (54% FG), 7.5 RPG and 6.0 APG. Pierce has put up 21.3 PPG and 6.3 APG against the Sixers this season, but has not shot particularly well (43% FG, 23% threes) in the series. PF Kevin Garnett (14.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG) has started to rebound the ball better for Boston, averaging 9.9 RPG since Jan. 24 (span of 16 games), including 10.6 RPG over the past three games. Garnett actually had zero rebounds in the Dec. 8 meeting with Philly, but still managed to score 19 points on 9-of-11 FG in his 23 minutes of action. For the season, Garnett has 18.3 PPG on 69% FG in this season series. SF Jeff Green (11.0 PPG) has been a reliable player for the Celtics since Rondo went down with a torn ACL, scoring 15.0 PPG on 52% FG and 89% FT. Green added 18 points (8-of-13 FG) and five rebounds in Friday's win over the Warriors and has really been a good source of offense both inside and out for Doc Rivers’ squad.
Despite Philadelphia's recent slump, SG Evan Turner (14.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 4.4 APG) has been playing really well, doing it on the offensive end as well as on the glass. Over the past six games, Turner is averaging 15.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 5.3 APG. He's also lit up Boston for 21.3 PPG and 8.0 RPG in the three meetings this year, tallying double-doubles in both of Philly's wins. PG Jrue Holiday (19.1 PPG, 8.5 APG, 4.2 RPG), the Sixers’ only All-Star, had 27 points, seven assists and five rebounds in the Sixers’ victory over the Warriors on Saturday. But he struggled mightily the following night in Washington, going 4-for-19 from the floor, including 2-of-12 from inside the three-point arc. His poor shooting (4-of-13 FG) was also a big reason his team lost in Boston on Dec. 8, but Holiday has played well in the two victories over the Celtics this season with 18.0 PPG, 9.0 APG and 5.0 RPG. The Sixers have continued to play hard on both ends of the floor despite their poor recent play, and they won’t stop competing as long as Doug Collins is still the coach.