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Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid goes up for a shot between Boston Celtics’ Al Horford, left, and Jayson Tatum. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid goes up for a shot between Boston Celtics’ Al Horford, left, and Jayson Tatum. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)|Associated Press
NBA

NBA: What team do the Sixers want to avoid in the NBA playoffs?

The Sixers have the best starting five in the league statistically.

Robert Mims

Robert Mims

Now that the NBA All-Star game is over, the Sixers can give their attention to the playoff run and where they are seeded. They have the best starting five in the league statistically. They average 102.7 a game. The Warriors average 99 a game. The Sixers entire starting five averages double figures. So what team is the one that want to avoid?

The obvious choice is the Celtics. The Sixers have lost 8 of the last 10 regular season meetings and were eliminated in the playoffs by Boston 4 to 1 in 2018. You add this to the play of Al Horford against Joel Embiid. Horford can neutralize him inside. Embiid moves his game outside and that has not been the answer.

Ben Simmons has not shown his level of domination against the C’s. His plus/minus against the Celtics is a staggering -124. The last meeting, he was a plus 1. The defense of Morris and Jason Tatum are a concern for Ben.

Brad Stevens appears to have a one up on Coach Brown. He gets the match up he wants, and his team exploits it. The execution after time outs is another key point that the C’s have shown themselves superior. Add in the fact the Celtics are doing this to the Sixers without Kyrie Irving in most of the previous games.

So, the Sixers want to finish ahead of the Celtics and avoid the 4/5 matchup. They want to finish 3rd or higher. I see the Pacers falling to 5 and the Sixers opening round opponent as the Nets or Hornets. My next post will look at the Western Conference. I’ll be looking at what team has the best odds of beating the Warriors.