Celtics

Celtics vs. 76ers odds: Best NBA picks with Kemba Walker, Enes Kanter out for C's

Celtics vs. 76ers odds: Best NBA picks with Kemba Walker, Enes Kanter out for C's

Can the Celtics really go 0-for-Philly in the regular season?

To avoid a season sweep at the hands of their long-time rival in the East, they'll have to find a way to stop Joel Embiid and the 76ers tonight at TD Garden. And they'll have to do it without their All-Star point guard and the player with the most experience trying to neutralize the Sixers center.

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Kemba Walker (knee soreness) and Enes Kanter (hip injury) won't play for the Celtics Saturday night as they look to win at least once after dropping their previous three this season against Philly (31-18), which sits in the sixth spot in the East and trails No. 3 Boston (32-15) by two games. 

The injuries news dropped the Celtics from 2.5-point favorites to a one-point selection. Here are our betting predictions, as well as two other NBA "locks" against the spread. 

(All odds provided by West Gate Superbook.)

Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics, 8:30 p.m., ET

Moneyline: With Kanter guarding him most of the night, Embiid had 38 points and 13 rebounds the last time the Sixers played in Boston in December (he was injured and missed Philly's January home win over the C's). Boston's thin frontcourt of Daniel Theis, Grant Williams, Vincent Poirier and maybe Tacko Fall has Al Horford to contend with inside, too. Looks like the Sixers (-105) get their sweep.

Point Spread: As noted above, the Walker-Kanter injury news dropped the C's to a one-point favorite. The 76ers are just 9-16 on the road but the Celtics injuries are just too much to overcome. A grudging nod to the Sixers (+1) here.

Point Total: These are two of the NBA's best defensive teams. The 76ers (allowing 105.2 points per game) are No. 2 in the NBA, the C's (allowing 105.5) are No. 3. Without Walker, Boston could be offensively challenged. Go with the UNDER on the 212.5 point total.  

Pat's record, pinch-hitting for Darren Hartwell, picking Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 8-10 (44% success rate).

NBA Locks of the Night

Atlanta Hawks (+5) at Dallas Mavericks, 8:30 p.m.: The Mavs are without MVP candidate Luka Doncic and are coming off a 128-121 loss at Houston on Friday. They're 3-3-1 against the spread when playing on the second night of a back-to-back. Atlanta is just 5-20 on the road but 8-1 ATS when playing with a rest advantage.

Los Angeles Lakers (-6) at Sacramento Kings, 10 p.m.: The Lakers are coming off an emotional 127-119 home loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night in their first game since the death of Kobe Bryant. Despite playing on the second night of a back-to-back and recent issues winning in Sacramento (L.A. has lost eight of its past 11 there), look for a bounce-back effort from LeBron & Co. over the Kings (18-30 overall, 8-14 at home).  

Pat's record, pinch-hitting for Darren Hartwell, picking NBA locks against the spread: 6-6, 50% success rate. 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of 76ers-Celtics, which begins Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.

 

Classic Celtics: Larry Bird lifts C's over Rockets in 1986 NBA Finals clincher

Classic Celtics: Larry Bird lifts C's over Rockets in 1986 NBA Finals clincher

Some consider the 1986 Boston Celtics one of the greatest NBA teams of all time.

Here's your chance to watch them finish off that historic season.

NBC Sports Boston's "Classic Celtics" series -- which brought you Kemba Walker's 32-point outburst against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday -- rolls on Friday with Game 6 of the 1986 NBA Finals between the Celtics and Houston Rockets.

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The Rockets took Game 5 in Houston to send the series back to Boston, but they weren't prepared for Larry Bird, whose magnificent performance in Game 6 (29 points, 11 rebounds, 12 assists) helped the C's earn a 114-97 win and clinch their 16th NBA championship.

Our re-broadcast of Celtics-Rockets airs Friday at 7 p.m. ET, and if watching Bird at the height of his powers wasn't entertaining enough, former Celtics center Bill Walton will join Brian Scalabrine throughout the night to provide color commentary.

Here's when and how to watch:

When: Friday, April 3, 7 p.m. ET
TV: NBC Sports Boston
Streaming: NBCSportsBoston.com and in the MyTeams app

Click here to listen and subscribe to the Celtics Talk Podcast:

How Kobe Bryant once used a cutout of Paul Pierce as 'motivation'

How Kobe Bryant once used a cutout of Paul Pierce as 'motivation'

Kobe Bryant will forever be remembered as one of the fiercest competitors in sports history. That unmatched competitiveness was amplified whenever his Los Angeles Lakers faced off against their archrival, the Boston Celtics.

Two months after the Lakers fell to the C's in the 2008 NBA Finals, Bryant headed to China to take part in the Summer Olympics. There, he helped the United States earn its first gold medal since 2000.

But the sting from his loss to the Celtics overshadowed the euphoria of his Olympics victory.

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WNBA star Sue Bird, who also was in China for the '08 Games, told a great story about witnessing Bryant's competitive attitude while drinking wine and playing card games with him that summer.

“He was fresh off [the Finals loss] and you could tell [he was still thinking it]” Bird told Los Angeles Sparks star and ESPN analyst Chiney Ogwuimike.“… [We were] just kicking it and he saw this newspaper — it was something about the Lakers series and blah blah blah — and there was a picture of Paul Pierce celebrating.

“And he didn’t say a word. He didn’t say anything. But we saw him take the paper. He started cutting out the Paul Pierce picture. He folded it up and put it in his pocket and was like, ‘Motivation.’ And we were like, ‘Oh, it never stops with him.’ And you can tell.”

Watch below:

There never will be another player like the "Black Mamba."

Bryant tragically passed away in a helicopter crash on January 26 along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others. He was 41 years old.

You can listen to Pierce reminisce about the C's Finals win over the Lakers in the Celtics Talk Podcast below: