The Sixers just lost Ben Simmons to season-ending knee surgery, while the Celtics won five of their eight seeding games and are peaking at the right time entering Monday's Game 1 in Orlando.
Boston can't simply dismiss its archrival, though, especially considering Philly won three of the teams' four meetings this season.
So, how would the Sixers pull off a first-round exit? Danny Pommells and Paul Hudrick of the Sixers Talk Podcast joined Chris Forsberg and A. Sherrod Blakely on the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast to make the case for Philly -- which revolves around one All-Star center.
"It's Joel Embiid," Hudrick said. "If he's that guy who was there that night in Boston and had that 38-point performance and put the Sixers on his back... If he can be that guy -- which we know he can be -- for multiple games, clearly that gives them a really good chance of being in it."
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Hudrick believes Embiid can't beat a deep, talented Celtics team on his own, however.
"Everything's got to go right," Hudrick added. "Embiid's got to be great. Tobis Harris has to step up. He also has been good in Orlando, but he's going to have to give you 20-plus points a night.
"Al Horford is going to have to keep making shots. Josh Richardson is going to have to keep making shots ... He's going to have a huge defensive role in this series, and he's going to have to put up points too.
"For them to even have a chance in this series, Embiid has to be otherworldly and everyone else has to make shots. I think that's the way they win the series."
Philly's role players have shot pretty well in the NBA bubble: The Sixers connected on 41.6 percent of their 3-points in the seeding round, second only to the San Antonio Spurs.
Hommells points to the Philly's outside shooting as fans' one reason for optimism entering this series.
"If you combine Joel being otherworldly, and then the Celtics are like, 'Man, somebody else is going to beat us,' and they send hard double teams at him and he's finding guys who are knocking down threes, that's something that the Celtics haven't seen from this Sixers team in the past," Hommells said, "particularly with Ben in the lineup when they were able to pack it in and dare him to shoot."
"There is a sliver of hope. There's a light that I can see gleaming. It's like 'Raiders of the Lost Ark.' I'm looking but can't find it.
"I think there is a way that the Sixers can beat the Celtics. I think that the Sixers will probably lose in six games, but I think there's something there."