It’s always a challenge to bet the #NBA preseason because coaches will not play their starters in every game and not for too long when they do. The #Celtics beat the #76ers on Sunday in the preseason opener for both, 114-106, as Philly was without All-Stars Joel Embiid and James Harden, and both will sit out Wednesday in the rematch in Philadelphia. The C’s opened at -2.5 but are now -5.5 with those two stars out.
It frankly would be a minor miracle if Harden is still on the Sixers by Opening Night because he has made it clear he wants to be traded to the Clippers and is apparently ready to ruin another franchise if he doesn’t get his way. Harden has been practicing with the 76ers recently despite his lingering trade request, and he participated in Wednesday's shootaround but is being ruled out simply for personal reasons.
The Sixers probably don’t want Harden doing something embarrassing on the court. The reigning NBA MVP Embiid logged a full practice Tuesday, but he'll miss a second straight preseason game for rest purposes.
Guard De’Anthony Melton is on question despite being a full participant during Tuesday's practice. He also missed Sunday simply for rest but is questionable tonight. Tyrese Maxey finished with 24 points and four assists to lead the 76ers in Sunday’s loss and he’s expected to play tonight as of now. Maxey, Patrick Beverley, Tobias Harris, PJ Tucker and Paul Reed are the projected starters.
Boston actually has played since Sunday, losing 114-107 on Monday at the Knicks while resting Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kristaps Porzingis, Jrue Holiday and essentially everyone of note. Not clear if they will play tonight but haven’t been ruled out yet (Boston doesn’t play again until next Tuesday so they might all play some). Payton Pritchard led the Celtics with 21 points and also led them Sunday with 26 points right after signing a nice extension with the team.