5:05 p.m. at Philadelphia
Celtics +4½ at Sixers (188½)
It’s only the 12th time in 81 games that the Celtics have been underdogs. And, it’s the first time against Philadelphia in four meetings. The first three were won by Boston by a combined 44 points. Yet the Sixers are favored even considering the fact they are on their longest losing streak of the season at five games. So how can Philly be a 4½ favorite? Well, that’s what happens when there’s nothing on the line.
And least it’s that way for Boston, which has locked up the No. 2 seed in the East behind Cleveland and ahead of Orlando. While Philly is in the playoffs, there is motivation to end the current slide and building some confidence over a Celtics team they haven’t defeated. Also, a win could lift Philly past Chicago for the No. 6 slot in the East and avoid facing the Celtics in the first round.
Boston had won six straight until getting shelled at Cleveland by 31 points. Kevin Garnett sat out all those games and won’t be back until the playoffs. If Philly does face Boston in the opening round, it would be best to post a convincing win here. PHILLY.