NBA Playoffs: Storylines, predictions for Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers

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NBA Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

NBA Playoffs: 3 storylines and a prediction for Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Entering the NBA’s restart bubble, the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers were two teams that many perceived as threats to emerge in the Eastern Conference to possibly push the Milwaukee Bucks. Enter the NBA playoffs, that’s only still the case for the Celtics. Mostly because of the recent loss (due to injury) of Ben Simmons.

After injuring his knee last week, Simmons is expected to miss the remainder of the season. Without Simmons in the lineup for what appears to be the playoffs, the Sixers will hope that leaning on Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Josh Richardson and veteran Al Horford will be enough to upset a very dangerous Celtics team.

It won’t be easy. Boston is as healthy as a team can be entering the postseason, with Kemba Walker beginning to hit his stride after battling a knee injury during the hiatus. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have continued to impress in the bubble and Marcus Smart has quickly evolved into the team’s consistent veteran leader. Not to mention Gordon Hayward is playing high-quality basketball after a quietly impressive bounce-back season pre-hiatus.

Brad Stevens is as good as it comes in terms of head coaching, while Brett Brown could be coaching for his job.

Let’s explore three storylines and a prediction for what could be the most intriguing first-round series of the NBA playoffs.

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