By Bill Speros | | 3 mins
Follow Celtics-76ers Live Wednesday on Nate Duncan’s NBACast
The Philadelphia 76ers poached the Celtics’ most-productive big man this offseason.
Thursday night, Al Horford makes his return to TD Garden in Boston for the first time in a 76ers uniform. It’s more probable than not Horford will get a warm welcome from the sell-out, emerald-green-clad crowd. The effort Horford put forth during his three years in Boston should outweigh that he landed with rival Philadelphia in the opening moments of free agency.
The Celtics enter this game playing on the tail end of a road-and-home back-to-back after losing to the Pacers in Indiana 122-117 Tuesday. Boston is a mere -1.5 at William Hill and -125 on the moneyline. The Sixers are +105 off an over/under of 210.5 points.
NBA fans and bettors can follow the action above via the NBACast, hosted by NBA experts Nate Duncan. The #NBACast offers live, in-game analysis, up-to-the second breakout stats and – as always – will take your questions. The NBACast is sponsored by bookies.com.
The game will also air on TNT.
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Kemba Walker scored 44 points for the Celtics Wednesday night at Indiana, but it was not enough to beat the team Boston swept out of the playoffs last spring. That loss ended a four-game winning streak for the Celtics. Hard-luck Gordon Hayward took a shot to the face but is OK and should play Thursday night.
"I did not break my nose, which is good."— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) December 12, 2019
Gordon Hayward talked to media after the game to explain what happen to him in the game and how he's feeling pic.twitter.com/EvFek72Qrk
The Celtics have yet to find a suitable — and sizable — replacement for Horford’s 13.5 points, 7 rebounds and 31 minutes a night — not to mention the dozen seasons of NBA experience he brought to Boston’s roster. Philly’s clear advantage upfront with Joel Embiid and Horford will be a challenge to Boston coach Brad Stevens and to bettors who are pondering whether or not this game could devolve into a defensive showdown.
The Sixers have won three in a row. They routed Boston at Wells Fargo Center on Opening Night 107-93 behind 24 points from Ben Simmons and a combined 28 rebounds courtesy of Tobias Harris and Embiid. The Sixers stayed perfect at home with a 97-92 win over Denver Tuesday.
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