NBA Scout Lays Out 2 Factors That’ll Doom Celtics’ Nemesis in Playoffs

On Monday, May 1, the Boston Celtics will begin their second-round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, and both sides bid to reach the Eastern Conference Finals.

According to an anonymous NBA scout who spoke with Sam Amick, Darnell Mayberry, and J. Robbins of The Athletic, the Celtics should have no issue winning their series against the Sixers within six games.

.@wojespn is told Joel Embiid is “unlikely to play” in Game 1 against the Celtics:

— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 1, 2023

“Boston got to the finals last year. Philly hasn’t gotten past the second round in forever,” The scout said. “I’m picking Boston in six. Especially with Embiid out and maybe struggling physically, you’re relying on Harden and Maxey. … I think it’s a more difficult matchup for Philly. … The Celtics had a little bit of a blip when they lost to Atlanta in Game 5, but they came back nicely, which I think will help their confidence; closing a series on the other guys’ court, that’s always a positive.”

The Celtics recorded a 3-1 record over the Sixers during the regular season, and without a fully healthy Joel Embiid in Philadelphia’s rotation, will likely feel confident about dispatching their rivals and moving on to the conference finals for the second straight season.

Derrick White Discusses Celtics Mindset

When speaking to the media on May 1, Derrick White discussed how the Celtics can’t let Embiid’s potential absence from the rotation alter how they approach the game, noting how their mindset shouldn’t change regardless of whether the MVP candidate partakes in the game or not.

“Whether [Joel Embiid] plays or doesn’t play, we have to have the same mindset”

Derrick White on preparing for Philly

— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) May 1, 2023

“I mean he’s most likely the MVP, he does a lot of things for them but they got a lot of good players on this team. So whether he plays or doesn’t play, we have to have the same mindset…We talked about it here. We got to have the right mindset regardless of if he plays or doesn’t play, that can’t change,” White said.

White has been a key cog for the Celtics this season, playing in all 82 regular-season games and producing an impressive statline of 12.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game while shooting 46.2% from the field and 38.1% from deep.

Joel Embiid is Unlikely to Play in Game 1

During an April 29 press conference, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers discussed the chances of Embiid suiting up for the opening game against Boston on May 1, with the veteran coach refusing to rule him out.

Joel Embiid’s status for Game 1 is doubtful according to Doc Rivers

— GreenRunsDeep (@CelticsGRD) April 29, 2023

“There is no latest,” Rivers said. “Obviously, doctors looked at him, and he didn’t do anything today. I’ll say this, if I was a betting man, I would say [he’s] doubtful for at least game one, but we’ll see…We know nothing yet…Obviously, we were hoping for today.”

Without Embiid in their rotation, the Sixers will struggle to match the Celtics’ firepower, while their rim protection will certainly take a significant hit, as Paul Reed doesn’t possess the size or explosiveness to protect them rim against the likes of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Robert Williams. 
Still, the Celtics will need to heed White’s advice and remain focused, as the Sixers do boast numerous talented players who can punish any misstep or miscommunication. Fortunately, the wait for the series opener is now over, as the game is set to take place on Monday, May 1.
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