After winning two straight games, the Philadelphia 76ers now sit just one win away from advancing to their first conference finals since 2001 heading into Game 6 on Thursday night. Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics will be looking to bounce back and extend their season and force a Game 7 back home.
After missing the first game of the series with a knee injury, NBA MVP Joel Embiid has looked increasingly comfortable out on the floor as the series has gone on, and the big man is eager to try to take care of business in front of the home crowd.
"We still got to get one more, and that's all I'm thinking about right now," Embiid said after Game 6. "Obviously, you're going home, so you'll have a lot of energy in the crowd, and I imagine everybody plays better at home, too. I do play better at home ... What we did [in Game 5] ... it's easier said than done, but we've got to do it again, and I'm excited for it."
We'll have to wait and see if the Celtics can find an answer for Embiid in Game 6. If not, their season will likely come to an end. Here's a look at the start time, viewing information, odds, storylines and a prediction for the contest.
Celtics vs.76ers, Game 6
- Date: Thursday, May 11 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Wells Fargo Center -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- TV channel: ESPN | Live stream: fubo (try for free)
- Odds: Celtics -2.5; O/U 212.5 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
76ers: Backcourt production has been central to the Sixers' success in this series. James Harden has had two 40-plus point performances, and Tyrese Maxey dropped 30 points in Game 5. Those guys have provided solid supplementary scoring alongside Embiid, and that has given the Sixers an advantage in the series. In order to close out the series in Game 6, Philadelphia will need one, or both, of those guys to go off again. Embiid is going to get his, but it's when he has other guys going off alongside him that the Sixers become extremely tough to topple.
Celtics: Trying to get off to a better start will be key for the Celtics. They were thoroughly outplayed in the first half of Games 4 and 5, and they trailed by nine points at halftime of both contests as a result. Thus, they had to expel a lot of energy just to try to climb back into the games in the second half. They were able to do so in Game 4 as they fought back to force overtime, but still fell short. In Game 5, they were simply never able to overcome their early deficit. If they can play it closer to even over the first half, or even take a lead into the locker room at halftime, they'll have a better chance of extending the series.
The Celtics are going to come out desperate to extend their season. But, in this matchup the edge goes to the home team that also happens to have the MVP on it. And as the series has progressed, Embiid has looked better as, and he's also gotten his fair share of help from the rest of the roster. The big fella has never made it out of the second round, and it's safe to say he'll be eager to end that streak. Pick: 76ers +2.5