The Sixers are 2-3 in the past five games, however they have had quite a difficult schedule. All three of those losses were to winning teams, and two were on the road. Philadelphia still has the NBA's second-highest scoring offense and second-worst defense so it should be clear where the improvement must come.
The Sixers lost their last game against the Jazz because of a woeful defensive effort. They can definitely do better than this against the Celtics who live and die by the jumpshots. Philly just needs someone inside who can make his presence felt defensively. Samuel Dalembert can be that guy, especially against the Celtics frontline. Expect Dalempert and Webber to have strong night being matched by Jefferson and especially by LaFrenz.
Boston has won 2 games from last 5 and is 14-21 at the moment. One of Boston`s weaknesses this year has been a poor play in away games. They are 4-13 there and you should expect more from a team that is 14-21 overall. Like the Sixers, the Celtics can't stop anybody. In the offensive end they can be a threat in one game but might have a total failure in the next one. So until they achieve some stability on D and avoid those ups-and-downs in offense, much of Bostons`s hopes hinge on the performance of (unhappy) Paul Pierce.
Tonight`s game will be played in Philadelphia and ruled by the 76ers. Iverson and Co are hoping to take advantage of playing some of the league's worst away teams so handicap –5.5 offered by bookies will be taken with medium (+) stakes.
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