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[BKL] Jan 11, 2018

NBA Basketball Betting Preview: Celtics vs. 76ers

By Gracenote

Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers (+2.5; 207.5)

The Philadelphia 76ers are streaking in the right direction again and won their last four games while scoring an average of 114 points, but they are about to run into a defensive wall. The 76ers will try to find a way around that wall and push the winning streak to five in a row when they play the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics across the Atlantic in London on Thursday.

Philadelphia has been off since turning up its own defence and earning its most impressive victory of the season with a 114-78 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday. The Celtics are enjoying their own positive stretch with wins in six straight and showed off their defensive prowess by stopping four shots in the final 7.5 seconds of Saturday's 87-85 triumph over the Brooklyn Nets. Boston leads the NBA in scoring defence at an average of 97.6 points allowed and defensive field-goal percentage (.429).

ABOUT THE CELTICS (33-10): Rookie forward Jayson Tatum is going through a bit of a shooting slump at 16-of-43 from the floor over the last four games, but he is still coming through when it counts. Tatum scored Boston's final five points on Saturday, including a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left, and recorded a season-high six blocks to go with 14 points, six rebounds and three steals.

ABOUT THE 76ERS (19-19): Philadelphia has its own rookie star in point guard Ben Simmons, who heads to London hot after averaging 22 points in the last three contests. Simmons needed just 23 minutes to collect 19 points and nine assists on Friday and did most of his damage during a 15-0 run early in the game that set the tone.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Celtics C Al Horford (knee) sat out Saturday's win but is expected to play Thursday.

2. Philadelphia SG Justin Anderson (shin) returned from a 23-game absence on Friday and went scoreless in eight minutes off the bench.

3. Boston took the first two meetings this season by an average of 10.5 points.
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