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After two consecutive wins, the Philadelphia 76ers had a golden opportunity to close out their Eastern Conference semifinals series with the rival Boston Celtics in front of their raucous home crowd in Game 6 on Thursday night and end their conference finals drought, but they were ultimately unable to do so. 

After a sluggish start to the game that saw them fall behind 15-3 out of the gate, the Sixers shook off some early nerves, climbed back into the contest over the course of the first half and found themselves down by just seven at halftime. They were able to erase that deficit entirely in the third quarter and took a two-point lead into the final frame. At that point, they were in control of their own destiny -- up 3-2 in the series with a lead heading into the fourth quarter in their own building. Closeout opportunities don't come too much more ideal than that.  

Things didn't go Philadelphia's way in that fourth quarter, though, as their offense bogged down, and they were able to muster just 13 points over the final 12 minutes of action. The Celtics, on the other hand, scored 24 points during that same span, and they were able to pull out a season-saving 95-86 victory as a result. Now, the series is tied at three games apiece and the decisive Game 7 will be played in Boston, where the Celtics will have the home crowd -- and any lingering momentum -- behind them.  Here's a look at the start time, viewing information, odds, storylines and a prediction for the contest.            

Celtics vs. 76ers, Game 7

  • Date: Sunday, May 14 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: TD Garden -- Boston, Massachusetts 
  • TV channel: ABC | Live stream: fubo (try for free
  • Odds: Celtics -6.5; O/U 201 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Featured Game | Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers


76ers: This closeout game will be all about star power for Philadelphia. The Sixers need their two stars -- Joel Embiid and James Harden -- to show up in a big way if they're going to secure their first conference finals berth since 2001. Embiid has been solid in the series, but he went nearly the final four minutes of Game 6 without taking a shot while the contest slipped away from Philly. That simply can't happen. The big man needs to be assertive and dominant from the opening tip. If he can consistently put pressure on Boston's defense, get them in foul trouble and generate open opportunities for his teammates, the Sixers should have a real chance to walk away with a win. 

Similarly, the Sixers need an aggressive version of James Harden. Harden has had two 40-point performances in the series, but he scored in the teens in the other four games. He needs to come out with an aggressive mindset and aim to collapse Boston's defense. I wrote last week that Harden's level of aggression could ultimately decide the series, and that remains the case. 

Celtics: The goal for the Celtics has to be to get Jayson Tatum going earlier in the game. Tatum has struggled mightily in the first halves of recent games, and he had a total of just three points through the first three quarters of Game 6 before he exploded for 16 points in the final frame to save the Celtics' season.  Tatum averaged over 30 points per game during the regular season, but he has hit the 30-point threshold just twice in the six games in the series so far. A  lot of that has been due to first half struggles. A stronger start would likely lead to a more consistently productive performance, so look for Boston to be proactive when it comes to generating ample scoring opportunities for Tatum early on in Game 7. 


This has been a back-and-forth series, and it's tough to predict how it will end as neither team has been especially consistent. However, I picked the 76ers in seven games prior to the start of the series, so I'm sticking with it. In order for that to happen, both Embiid and Harden will need to be at the peak of their powers, as mentioned above. The Sixers have already won twice in Boston in this series, so they're clearly capable of it. The game projects to be pretty close either way, so even if the Celtics win, I'll take the Sixers with the points. Pick: 76ers +6.5