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With the season the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics are having, even the winner will lose when the teams square off Wednesday in Boston. Both teams appear headed for lottery picks in what figures to be a talent-rich draft, so a loss Wednesday might turn into a long-term victory. Don't tell that to the players on these struggling squads, though, as both teams are eager to snap three-game skids.
The Celtics have dropped 18 of their last 21, and the latest one was ugly — a 114-88 drubbing at the hands of the New York Knicks on Tuesday. "I think the proof is in the pudding," Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters. "Whatever we are record-wise, we're not a very good basketball team." The 76ers can understand the sentiment, as they've lost 10 of 12 since a season-best four-game winning streak.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, CSN Philadelphia, CSN New England (Boston)
ABOUT THE 76ERS (14-31): Philadelphia has a solid building block in rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams (17.4 points, 6.7 assists, 5.6 rebounds), who has scored 20 or more points in six of the last 11 games. Fourth-year swingman Evan Turner also is having a great season, averaging a career-high 18.5 points along with 6.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Thaddeus Young (17.3 points, 6.4 rebounds) is having a breakout season as well, but all the offensive prowess hasn't resulted in success as the 76ers allow a league-high 109.9 points per game.
ABOUT THE CELTICS (15-32): Boston has been a pitiful at the offensive end lately, averaging 83.3 points during its three-game losing streak. The Celtics already are missing guard Avery Bradley (14.5 points), who is sidelined with ankle and hand injuries, and they likely will be without point guard Rajon Rondo, who typically has sat out the second game of back-to-back sets since returning from a torn ACL. One of the few bright spots for Boston recently has come from forward Chris Johnson, who was signed to a second 10-day contract Tuesday and scored 12 points against the Knicks, raising his average to 10.2 points in five games with the Celtics.
1. Young has recorded three or more steals in four consecutive games, matching the longest streak by a Philadelphia player since Allen Iverson did it in five straight games in 2005.
2. The Celtics are playing their 13th back-to-back of the season and have been swept in eight of the first 12.
3. Philadelphia is 2-20 when failing to score at least 100 points.
PREDICTION: 76ers 101, Celtics 95