Game 5 – 76ers vs. Celtics Picks & Predictions

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The NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals resume on Tuesday night with a pivotal Game 5 showdown between the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics. Coverage begins from TD Garden in Boston at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

The Celtics are 10-2 SU in their last 12 home games. (Getty)


Well, in a stunning turn of events, James Harden has done it yet again folks. The fate of Philly’s season hung in the balance in the final moments of regulation in Game 4 on Sunday afternoon, as the Sixers trailed Boston by two points with 28 seconds left in the fourth quarter, but Harden came through with a clutch game-tying bucket to send it to overtime.

And then, in a similar scenario at the end of overtime stanza, the Sixers trailed Boston by two points with 26 seconds left on the clock, but the second time around the Beard went for the kill, as Harden knocked down a go ahead three-pointer at the 19-second mark to cap off an incredible 42-point performance, and send this series back to Boston tied 2-2.

As a Celtics’ bettor, it would be easy to sweep their latest loss under the rug. The Celtics had last-second opportunities to win Game 4 at the buzzer in both regulation and overtime, despite Jayson Tatum scoring just two points in the first half, plus Harden playing like the 2018 version of himself; which is destined to level out moving forward.

However, there appears to be a much bigger issue at hand for this Boston’ squad, and it starts with head coach Joe Mazzulla. To be fair, Mazzulla was abruptly thrusted into this position due to an unfortunate internal incident involving their former coach Ime Udoka; and the regular season was smooth sailing for the most part, so his inexperience flew under the radar purely due to the talent and depth of this Celtics’ roster.

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In the playoffs, though, winning games is far more difficult, and now that we’re beginning to see Boston partake in some highly competitive contests, their inexperience in the coaching department is becoming apparent in crucial situations, as the Celtics are now 0-3 in their three playoffs games decided by a margin of four points or less.

Boston had a chance to win Game 5 on two separate occasions at the end of regulation and overtime, and like a deer in headlights, Mazzulla elected to keep a timeout in his back pocket in both instances, despite clearly having little-to-no plan in place, as Marcus Smart took both potential game-winning shots, and didn’t even get off the second attempt before the buzzer.

The Celtics have all the excuses in the world for why they lost Game 4, and plenty of reasons to believe that they’ll bounce back in Game 5. They made a handful of bonehead defensive plays in key situations. Tatum was terrible in the first half. The ninth-best option on the team percentage-wise took both last second three-point attempts (and made one, although it didn’t count); and still, they nearly escaped with a victory. So now, they head back to TD Garden, where they’ve posted an impressive record of 35-11 on the year.

Don’t expect the Sixers to punt like they did in their 121-87 loss in Game 2, though. Philly has proven capable of trading punches with Boston on any stage, and despite winning Game 4 by a razor thin margin at home, the Sixers have plenty of room for improvement moving forward as well, highlighted by Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris combining for just 57 points on 20-53 shot attempts in their latest win; and if Boston continues to let them hang around late in games, the C’s might be in trouble down the stretch, because Mazzulla and co. clearly cannot be trusted in crunch time. Take the points with Philly in Game 5.

Score Prediction: Celtics 106, Sixers 104
Best Bet: Sixers +7.5 (-110)

Take PHI!



Date: Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Venue: TD Garden
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
TV-Time: TNT, 7:30 p.m. ET
Expert Picks

NBA Finals Betting Odds


Philadelphia 76ers
SU: 60-30
ATS: 53-36-1
O/U: 47-42-1
PPG: 115.2
OPPG: 110.9

Boston Celtics
SU: 63-29
ATS: 51-40-1
O/U: 50-41-
PPG: 117.9
OPPG: 111.4

Straight Up (SU), Against the Spread (ATS), Over-Under (O/U)
Points Per Game (PPG), Opponents Points Per Game (OPPG)

The Sixers are 5-1 SU in their last six road games. (Getty)


  • The Sixers are 7-2-1 ATS in their last ten games.
  • The Sixers are 8-2 SU in their last ten games.
  • The Celtics are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games.
  • The total has gone OVER in seven of Boston's last eight games.
  • The Celtics are 14-6 SU in their last 20 games.
  • The Celtics are 10-2 SU in their last 12 home games.
  • The Sixers are 2-7 ATS in their last nine games against Boston.
  • The Sixers are 3-6 SU in their last nine games against Boston.
  • The Sixers are 5-1 SU in their last six road games.