Celtics

Marcus Smart making progress in recovery from oblique injury

Marcus Smart making progress in recovery from oblique injury

BOSTON -- It’ll be a couple more weeks before Marcus Smart, still on the mend from an oblique injury that’s expected to keep him out for at least another month, will have a good sense of how much progress he is making.

“The progress is moving the right way,” Smart said. “That’s all you can ask for.”

Smart, addressing the media for the first time since he suffered the injury against the Orlando Magic on April 7, was in relatively good spirits despite being out for all of the first-round series against Indiana and most if not all of a potential second-round series if they move past the Pacers.


“Today was the first day walking without grimacing, being in pain,” Smart said. “It still hurts to laugh, cough, sneeze but every day stuff is getting better.”

The absence of Smart heading into this series against the Pacers raised questions as to how the Celtics would fare defensively in his absence.

In Game 1, the Celtics delivered one of their best defensive performances this season in beating Indiana 84-74.

Smart, who plans to be on the Celtics bench for Game 2 on Wednesday, was pleased with how the team responded without him.

Players have repeatedly talked about how much they will miss Smart's toughness, leadership and overall impact on games.

But they also know that they must soldier on and find ways to win without the one player mentioned more than any other as the heart and soul of this franchise.

“He means a lot to us, what we're about,” Boston's Marcus Morris told NBC Sports Boston. “But it's the playoffs, man. Everybody has to step up and take advantage of this opportunity."

Morris added, “We've been a next-man-up team all year. Now, it's no different. One of our main guys is down, others have to step up. That's what we do; that's who we are.”

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Celtics vs. 76ers odds: Best NBA picks as Al Horford returns to Boston

Celtics vs. 76ers odds: Best NBA picks as Al Horford returns to Boston

Who doesn't love an old-fashioned rivalry game?

The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers meet for the second time this season Thursday night, this time at TD Garden, where Al Horford spent three seasons in green and white.

Horford's new club put a whupping on the Celtics in their season opener, but the C's are 10-0 at home this season and will be out for revenge against their Atlantic Division foe.

Does Boston have enough firepower to set the record straight Thursday night? ... We're not so sure.

Here are our moneyline, point spread and point total picks for Celtics-Sixers, as well as two NBA locks against the spread.

(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook.)

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-76ers, which tips off Thursday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Tommy have the call at 8 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

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

Moneyline: Philly and its size are just a tough matchup for the Celtics, especially if two of Boston's better defenders (Marcus Smart and Gordon Hayward) can't play. I'll take the action on the Sixers (+105).

Point Spread: The Sixers are coming off quality wins over the Toronto Raptors and Denver Nuggets and are the only team that's really handled Boston this season. The Celtics have to lose at home at some point, and I think the Sixers (+1.5) do the honors.

Point Total: Both Philly and Boston have favored the under recently, but the Celtics' home juice should keep this game close throughout and get both teams over the century mark. I'm rolling with the OVER on the 210 point total.

Darren's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 32-24-1

NBA Locks of the Night

Dallas Mavericks (-5.5) at Detroit Pistons: The Mavs are 8-2 against the spread on the road this season. That's all the evidence I need to take Luka Doncic and Co. over a "meh" Pistons team.

Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets (-6): The Nuggets are back from an East Coast road trip to play a mediocre Blazers squad that's lost three of its last five. Denver rides the comforts of home to a comfortable victory.

Darren's record picking NBA locks against the spread: 21-15-1

Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers live stream: How to watch NBA game online

Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers live stream: How to watch NBA game online

The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers meet Thursday night for the first time since opening night and they have the added drama of Al Horford, who spent three years with the Celtics, returning to the Hub in an enemy uniform.

The two rivals again are vying for supremacy in the NBA's Eastern Conference, with the Celtics owning the third spot in the East at 17-6 and the Sixers currently fourth at 18-7. The C's will be out to avenge their opening night loss in Philly, which was the last time they saw old friend Horford, who makes his return to Boston after leaving as a free agent to join the longtime rivals in the City of Brotherly Love. 

Horford's departure was not without a little controversy. He spent three seasons with the Celtics, then declined his $30 million option for 2019-20 to become a free agent, but was expected to re-sign with Boston, only to take the more lucrative four-year, $109 million deal from Philly that he was rumored to have secured before the official start of free agency July 1. 

It will be interesting to see the reception the big man gets in his TD Garden return.

Be sure to tune into NBC Sports Boston for Celtics Pregame Live at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the game at 8 p.m. ET or stream it via the MyTeams app. 

HOW TO WATCH

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ANALYSIS AND REACTION

BEFORE THE GAME: At 7 p.m., Celtics Pregame Live presented by TD Bank gets you ready for the game with reports from Kyle Draper, Mike Gorman, Tommy Heinsohn, Brian Scalabrine, A. Sherrod Blakely, Chris Forsberg, and Abby Chin. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AT HALFTIME: Tune in to watch a breakdown of the first two quarters on Halftime Live presented by Ace Ticket. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AFTER THE GAME: As soon as the game ends, tune to Celtics Postgame Live presented by New England Ford for analysis, commentary and player reaction. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream

Questions on our livestream? Get all your questions answered here on our Streaming FAQ.

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Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-76ers, which tips off Thursday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Tommy have the call at 8 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.