The Philadelphia 76ers had the chance to close out their series against the Boston Celtics on their home court in game six, but poor shooting kept the Celtics in it and now it all comes down to today’s game seven matchup in the NBA Playoffs. Jayson Tatum shot horribly for most of game six but caught fire in the fourth quarter to help propel the Celtics. The Celtics put out a different starting lineup with Robert Williams starting and they should look to put out the same lineup today to limit Joel Embiid as much as possible from taking over the game. Despite the 76ers bad shooting last game, Embiid still notched a double-double. The winner of this game will host the Miami Heat for the first two battles of the Eastern Conference Finals. Be sure to take advantage of all our NBA DFS tools including our NBA DFS Projections, NBA DFS Lineup Generator, and check back to confirm NBA Starting Lineups when they come in later this afternoon Here are today’s NBA DFS top plays for game seven between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers.
Philadelphia 76ers Injuries
Boston Celtics Injuries
- Danilo Gallinari - Out
NBA DFS MVP/Captain
He’s the safest option for the captain spot because of how much he’s needed on both ends of the floor. He’s recorded three double-doubles in his last four contests scoring no fewer than 26 points in every game during that span. He’s been crushing the Celtics in the paint and hasn’t really been utilizing his long-range shooting game. When the Celtics put Williams up against him it helped a little bit because Williams is a hard player to drive on. Embiid had to shoot a lot of turnaround shots and had to play more off the ball. His shot volume will be safe today even if he’s missing them. Unless this game is a blowout, there’s no reason we shouldn’t see him hit the 40-minute mark today. Embiid has also blocked at least three shots in four of five outings he’s played against Boston in this series and he swiped the ball in three of his last four games. The Sixers will want to get him going early on and they should screen Embiid at the top of the key and have him attack Williams to try to draw contact and get him out of the game or at least make him play a little more tentatively. Williams is the Celtics enforcer and no one else on this team can body up Embiid. He’s been getting to the free-throw line as well a good amount and posted double-digit foul shot attempts.
Like Embiid, Tatum recorded three double-doubles in his last four games and the Celtics prioritized scorer will look to bounce back from shooting under 24 percent from the field in game six. Tatum’s three-point shooting just hasn’t been there for the most part of this series. Tatum should spend more time in the post and less time trying to create higher percentage shots on the ball. Tatum has taken no fewer than 20 shots in four straight battles and shot at least 40 percent from the field in three of those matchups. The Sixers have enough offensive weapons to be able to pull away and if the shots aren’t falling early, Tatum will have to figure out new ways to produce. He’s an excellent driver and by attacking the paint, Philadelphia’s defense will collapse on him and he’ll either draw contact in the lane or pass off to an open shooter from downtown. Tatum will constantly draw a second defender as soon as he hits the paint and he’ll have plenty of chances to produce assists in which he dropped five dimes or more in each of his last four contests. Philadelphia has done a good job of trapping Tatum with the ball and Al Horford, who’s been more of a detriment than a help on the offensive end, should look to constantly screen Tatum so that Tatum gets room to create plays when he has the ball.
Once Embiid came into the mix in this series, it seemed that Harden’s production ceiling would drop, but that hasn’t been the case and he’s been a multi-category producer. Doc Rivers is going to have to make sure that Harden is getting plenty of chances to produce with the ball and not just set up Embiid. They’re going to need his offense today to put Philadelphia over the top in this game. It’s been hard relying on Harden’s scoring but the playing time will be there and he should still take 15-20 shots today. He’s grabbed at least seven rebounds and dished at least nine assists in four of his last five contests in this series. He’s been helpful on the defensive side of the ball as well posting nine steals combined over his last three games. Harden has been more successful in making his moves to the basket quicker than trying to create or wait for the pick to be set. By just starting his drive to the basket upon receiving the ball, the Celtics won’t have as much time to set up on defense and it will keep them out of rhythm. Boston plays good defense on the perimeter and once they are set, it’s hard to find open looks. The good thing about using Harden as a potential captain for DFS today is that, unlike Jaylen Brown or Tyrese Maxey, he can still provide a good return on investment even if he’s not shooting well from the floor.
NBA DFS Utility Plays
Maxey has put up back-to-back big games against Boston scoring 26-plus points in both contests. He’s been the Sixers most successful driver among their guards and he plays fearless and will attack a crowded lane and draw contact. He’ll play between 40-45 minutes and should take around 20 shots today. He’s also been helpful on the glass pulling down five boards or more in each of his last four battles and he stole the ball five times total during that span. Maxey will need to hit three-pointers as well and he knocked down six in game five and three in games three and six. It’s hard to rely on him for consistent assist production because he often shoots quickly when he gets the ball or immediately starts his attack to the basket. Maxey can help change the pace of Philadelphia’s offense and speed them up to try to slow down or fatigue the Celtics lineup. Maxey could end up taking more shots than Harden and if he continues to find openings, Harden has no problem feeding him more. Harden is more of a jump-shooter while Maxey attacks the lane more and they complement each other nicely when they share the backcourt.
Brown must call for the ball more, especially if Tatum isn’t shooting well again. There’s no reason why we should see Brown take fewer than 15 shots in this game. As the Celtics second-prioritized scorer, he should move around off the ball a bit more on offense. He’s made comments about not being featured as much on the offensive end and complaining about it is one thing, but actually being vocal on the court and calling for the ball is another, and even though he’s not a loud player on the court, it’s game seven and he’ll have to be more aggressive and demand the rock so that Tatum doesn’t have as much pressure on him when he has the ball. If Brown starts producing possession after possession, the Sixers defense will lay off Tatum a bit and put more focus on Brown. He’s hit over 52 percent of his shots in four of six games in this series. Why isn’t he featured more? He’s been consistent and Boston will need to recognize that and make sure he’s fed. Brown has scored no fewer than 23 points in all but one game in this series. He’s contributed at least four assists in every game except one during that span and we’ve seen him pull down six rebounds or more in three of his last four performances.
After seeing Smart take 14-plus shots in four of his last five games, plus the fact that he’ll be on the ball a lot in this game, he can be trusted. He’s hit the 20-point mark in scoring in two of his last three outings and he’s coming off a game in which he hit 53 percent of his field goals. Smart has taken better shots this year. He’s not forcing them up as much. In previous seasons I’d refer to him as JR Smith because he would force up off-balanced low-percentage shots and it would make me pull my non-existent hair out of my head. Put Smart down for three rebounds as that has been a constant for him throughout this series and he’s dropped seven dimes in two of his last three games. He’s also coming off a multi-steal outing which is his second one in this series. While Smart can drive the lane himself, he’ll be relied on as more of a bailout option from downtown, especially on possessions where Brown or Tatum are bringing up the ball. He’s hit over 37 percent of his shots from long-range in each of his last three games. He’ll still get plenty of time to run the point, but if he’s one of the more successful shooters from the arc, the Celtics will keep utilizing his long-range game.
The reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year has given the Celtics everything they could have dreamed of when they acquired him. They needed a scorer off the bench which is one of the reasons why they lost in the NBA Finals last year and Brogdon has been their spark scorer off the bench. He’s scored at least 15 points in every game except one in this series and we should see him play around 30 minutes today. Brogdon hit over 54 percent of his shots last matchup and we should see him take 10-15 shots today and if the Celtics starters are struggling as a whole with scoring, they’ll turn the offense over to Brogdon a bit more. He’s also been a bit more helpful on the glass pulling down at least six rebounds in three of his last five games. Boston may look to set Brogdon up more from deep because he’s been shooting very well from long-range. Even though he only shot the ball twice from downtown in game five, he’s hit at least 50 percent of his three-pointers in five straight contests. Points and boards are what he’ll give us and we all know that when he’s out there, he’ll shoot because that’s what he’s paid to do. He sits with a usage percentage that exceeds 23 and he’ll get plenty of time with the ball.
NBA DFS Dart Throws
Even though Williams started last game, we never know how much he’ll be on the court. It was encouraging seeing him play 28 minutes last time out but if the Celtics are sluggish on offense or aren’t moving fast enough on the court, they’ll put him on the bench. Williams put up ten points and nine rebounds in game six and if he can play 25-plus minutes again, he’ll produce enough points and boards to hit value. With this being a NBA DFS showdown slate, there are only so many directions we can go, and Williams is Boston’s best post defender and the reason they have preserved him throughout the regular season was for a game like this. It’s game seven and they have to be all in and Al Horford has been very inconsistent. It’s one thing if Horford is nailing his shots, but he’s not doing it on a regular basis, and they might as well sacrifice some frontcourt offense to get a good low-block defender in the mix more and that’s what Williams brings to the Celtics. Despite the lack of consistent playing time, Williams has still recorded three multi-block games this series and has swatted away shots in four of his last five contests. Expect him to play 25-30 minutes once again.
P.J. Tucker and De’Anthony Melton, Philadelphia 76ers
It’s a hard debate between Tucker and Melton for this spot as both are better defenders than offensive players, but Tucker ultimately is the starter and he has a safer minutes floor than Melton unless Melton goes out there and actually hits shots. Tucker is more aggressive in the post and he’ll give the 76ers better chances at keeping the Celtics off the offensive glass and we should see him play more than 20 minutes today. Melton could end up playing 20-25 minutes as well off the bench as the 76ers main bench player but if Harden and Maxey are having big games and the game remains close, they’ll opt to keep both in unless they decide to go with a three-guard offense which is certainly possible. It was encouraging seeing Tucker take eight shots last game and he’ll get a few open looks from downtown, but he’ll be needed heavily to step up on Tatum on the defensive side of the ball. Melton can match up with Brogdon a bit when he comes in and can limit him. Tucker has my edge if I’m choosing between the two for a final spot, but both are dart throws heading into game seven. Tucker is coming off a three-steal game and Melton has recorded swipes in five straight battles and blocked shots in three of his last four games.
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