BOSTON CELTICS VS PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
In NBA betting, Boston vs Philadelphia is yet another interesting historical rivalry. As tribal creatures looking to find an outlet for our irrational, yet deeply felt hatreds, there is nothing better than a good local sporting matchup to get the blood pumping (not from arteries hopefully, we have to retain a certain level of decorum folks) and the chants ringing in our ears.
Chauvinism (look it up you uneducated peasants, it doesn’t mean what you think it does) seems natural and instinctive between teams that are close to each other geographically.
They may share a city or sometimes even a stadium. They may be close friends on every other occasion, carefully skirting around the subject of the conversation turning to the sport in question.
From the biggest UK soccer rivalries, between the Mancs of Manchester and the Scousers of Liverpool, separated only by 40 miles of turgid ravaged landscape that is all that remains of the Industrial Revolution, to the incredible grudge match rivalries between Aussie Rules teams Collingwood and Carlton that often end up in giant, rolling bouts of fisticuffs.
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IT SEEMS THAT PEOPLE (MOSTLY MEN, LET’S BE HONEST) LOVE A GOOD EXCUSE TO VENT A BIT OF BILE
To describe the Philadelphia 76ers as the Boston Celtics ‘second-biggest rivals’ then, is probably something that drives 76ers fans to distraction and makes them want to throw that smug little leprechaun through the nearest window (on fire).
BEREFT AS THEY ARE OF THEIR OWN CUTESY LOGO CHARACTER
Perhaps Franklin the fuzzy blue dog can give him the pasting he so richly deserves…
Although he is a generic character that was literally chosen by children as they quietly wrung the neck of their previous mascot, Hip-Hop the rabbit, and he went off to the glue factory.
Kids. Who’d have ‘em?
Either way, even if the 76ers have to contend with playing second fiddle to the Lakers in the orchestra of hatred, there is still a rich history of antagonism and shithousery between the 2 teams that bears closer inspection.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF CELTICS VS 76ERS
The Syracuse Nationals (better known as the Nats, I bet their fans were gutted to lose that glorious moniker) and the Boston Celtics originally played in the Eastern Division of the NBA throughout the 1950s.
SINCE THEN THEY HAVE PLAYED A TOTAL OF 456 REGULAR-SEASON GAMES
The Nationals beat the Celtics in three straight playoffs in 1954/5/6 and won the NBA Championship in 1955 to boot.
Payback wasn’t too far away and the Celtics won the next 3 playoffs between the two teams in 1957, 1959, and 1961.
I guess this must have stung a little as the Nationals were promptly sold and moved to Philadelphia.
OR MAYBE IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT, WHICH SEEMS MORE LIKELY
Anyway, in 1963, the Syracuse Nationals moved and became the Philadelphia 76ers (named after the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia)
The rivalry of Celtics vs 76ers as it is today could really start to settle down and fester.
Subsequently, both sides went on a rollercoaster of successes and failures from that point onwards. Including an incredible 8 straight NBA championships for Boston in the 60s.
BOTH TEAMS STAGNATED SOMEWHAT IN THE 1970S
Boston vs Philadelphia. They have met a record 20 times in the NBA playoffs. Including seven times in nine seasons from 1953-1961 and five consecutive years from 1965-1969.
During the period from 1980 to 1985, Larry Bird battled against Julius Erving four times in six seasons and they actually exchanged blows in the 1984 playoffs.
Well, Erving got in some cowardly punches while Bird was being dragged away by his neck from behind by Charles Berkley, but what are a few sordid details among friends?
The stories of sensational comebacks, last-minute snatched wins, and bitter fights are too many to mention here, but they certainly deserve further investigation for those with an interest. They are not without their share of tragedy and make for some poignant reading at times.
So, the 2 teams have played a total of 456 games against each other.
The Boston Celtics have won 263 and the Philadelphia 76ers 193 of them.
The 76ers have definitely had the upper hand over the last couple of seasons. In fact, we have to go back all the way to 1960 to find the last time that they were level-pegging with 54 wins each.
THINGS EBBED AND FLOWED IN THE RIVALRY FROM THAT POINT ONWARDS, BUT THE CELTICS PULLED AWAY INEXORABLY YEAR BY YEAR
From 2014 to 2017 the 76ers went on an abysmal run, as they lost 11 straight games against the Celtics and the gap between the two was increased to its biggest ever margin (to that point), of 71 games (184-255).
Since then they have shored up the damage a little and in 2020 they actually won 4 in a row for the first time since 2009. The time before that was in 1978!
That would have been barely enough to erase the memory of 4 years earlier when the Celtics went on a staggering run of 20 straight wins over the 76ers.
A run that went back a remarkable 27 months and only ended in March 1974.
However you look at things, Boston have bossed Philadelphia for years and it’s still a long way back for the 76ers.
Let’s take a look at some of the recent stats in Celtics vs 76ers games:
THE PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
NBA Championship odds = 23.00
Eastern Conference odds = 10.00
At the time of writing, Philadelphia are in 6th position in the Eastern Conference.
They score an average of 106 points per game (PPG)
While their opponents score an average of 106.6 points per game (OPP PPG)
They have a 53.6% win rate (PCT)
We have to look to 10th place on the list to find Philadelphia’s highest-scoring player – Joel Embiid, who has an average of 24.2 per game.
Their top 5 scorers have a combined total average of 86.8
THE BOSTON CELTICS
NBA Championship odds = 67.00
Eastern Conference odds = 31.00
Boston are in 9th position in the Eastern Conference.
They score an average of 108.3 points per game.
Their opponents score an average of 107.2 points per game.
They have a 50% win rate.
Boston’s highest scorer, in 5th position, is Jayson Tatum, who has an average of 26.2 points per game.
Their top 5 scorers have a combined total average of 87.4
THE PROS AND CONS OF STAT-OBSESSION
Looking at stats is a curious thing. They can tell us so much information about a team’s performance, and in such vivid detail. And yet, they still leave us none the wiser at times.
Boston are the NBA leaders in free throw percentage (FT%) with 81.6% (although the 76ers are 3rd with 81.3%)
Philadelphia lead the NBA with 6.04 blocks per game (BLK) with but Boston are hot on their heels in 5th with 5.50
The 76ers have 11.9 turnovers (TO) and 22.4 assists (AST)
The Celtics have 13.4 turnovers and 22.9 assists
Again there is very little to choose between them.
So where does the difference lie? The devil is surely in these details somewhere, but how to read them? The only place where either team is truly anything other than average is in terms of total rebounds (TRB). Again Boston are firmly within the pack with 45.8, but here Philadelphia come dead last with 42.1
However, it’s hardly the stuff that makes or breaks a season though is it?
So Boston claim 3 more rebounds per game? Big deal.
Clearly, as they sit above higher up in the standings, these stats are not ‘game-changers’ when viewed alone.
So, it may be that the accumulative effect plays some part in the long-term scheme of things.
Or perhaps it just shows us that relying on stats is no real way to view success in the NBA.
Whichever way you choose to view the situation, the bottom line is this:
BOSTON VS PHILADELPHIA
Celtics vs 76ers. One of the NBA’s oldest and fiercest rivalries is alive and well in 2021.
All in all, the team here at The Jump Hub can’t wait to see the sparks fly again.