Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers

Daniel Collins

Written by: Daniel Collins

Last Updated:

Read Time: 5 minutes


TD Garden,Boston, MA



31 - 23





41 - 12

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The best rivalry in the NBA belongs to the Celtics and Lakers, but there is no doubt that 76ers-Celtics rivalry is a close second. The Celtics and 76ers have the most NBA Playoff meetings of all time, squaring off a whopping 21 times throughout the years. The first meeting between these Eastern Conference rivals took place way back in 1949 when the 76ers organization was then known as the Syracuse Nationals. Two of the NBA’s all-time big men, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell, also played a huge role in this bitter rivalry. After those two players moved on, it was time for Julius Erving and Larry Bird to take center stage in this rivalry. Boston has seemingly dominated this rivalry in terms of head-to-head victories, but Philadelphia has been a worthy opponent throughout the years. This rivalry is between two iconic American cities that are known as two of the best sports cities in the United States. After this rivalry toned down a bit in recent years, it looks like we are once again heading for another climax in this intense rivalry. The 2019 Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers both look like NBA title contenders this season.

History of Celtics and Sixers Rivalry

The Celtics and 76ers have squared off 446 times in the regular season, and the Celtics have been the much better team. Boston has a 260-186 lead over Philadelphia in the all-time head to head standings and have been much more dominant in the postseason as well. The Celtics have won 13 of the 21 postseason series between the two rivals, and they have posted a record of 58-47 against the 76ers in the NBA Playoffs. Boston beat their rivals 20 straight times from 1971-74, while the 76ers won eight straight games from 2000-02. The 76ers moved to Philadelphia in 1963, and the East Coast rivalry has been more intense and more memorable ever since. Some of the NBA’s all-time greatest players have suited up for each team, and the two teams are absolutely loaded with young talent for the 2018-19 season. Odds are good that this rivalry will get even better as the young players improve with age.

The Boston Celtics can lay claim to being one of the original eight teams in NBA history. The Celtics were formed in 1946 and have transformed into the winningest franchise in league history— and arguably the most popular. The nickname “Celtics” was chosen as a way to honor the large amount of Irish immigrants that settled in the Boston area. Legendary coach Red Auerbach led the Celtics to eight straight NBA titles from 1959-1966, and Bill Russell is the most decorated player in league history with 11 NBA championships. Some of the greatest teams and greatest games in NBA history have been played on the iconic parquet floor of the Boston Garden. The Celtics have been the gold standard in the NBA since their inception, and it’s easy to make a prediction that it won’t change anytime soon.

The Philadelphia 76ers got their start in 1946 when the Syracuse Nationals came into the league as one of the first teams. The Nationals were one of just eight original teams to survive the first decade, and they eventually moved to Philadelphia in 1963. Philadelphia hasn’t had the same amount of success as their rivals from Boston, but the Sixers teams has had no shortage of NBA legends suit up for them. The 76ers haven’t been back to the NBA Finals since the 2001 season, but they are on the verge of making a return. Don’t be surprised when you see predictions that have Philadelphia as an NBA champion in the near future.

Head to Head Comparison of Celtics vs. 76ers

Boston has won an NBA-record 17 NBA Championships, and they have 21 Eastern Conference titles. The 76ers have won nine conference titles, but they have been able to win the whole thing just three times in franchise history. Boston and Philadelphia compete in the same division in the Eastern Conference, and the Sixers have spent most of this time looking up at the Celtics in the standings. The Celtics have won 22 division titles, while the Sixers have managed to win it just 5 times. Boston also has a huge edge in retired numbers, honoring 22 of their legends with this honor while the Sixers have just 9 retired numbers.

Glance at Celtics and 76ers Last 20 Games Played

Looking back at the last 20 games between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers will usually help to make predictions for what will happen in the future. If you are a 76ers fan, odds are that you don’t want to relive the past 20 games. Boston has posted a 17-3 record against Philadelphia dating back to March 16, 2015 and they have absolutely dominated their rival. The Celtics have clearly been the better pick when these two teams take the court, no matter where the game is played. The Celtics have gone 11-1 at games played in Boston, and have also won five of the seven games played in Philadelphia. Just for good measure, the Celtics also beat the 76ers last season in a game that was played in London. Even a die-hard Sixers fan picks the Boston Celtics when these two teams take the floor. A young and talented Philadelphia team must prove that they can reverse their fortunes before they are anyone’s pick for Eastern Conference champion.

Detailed Series Splits For Celtics-76ers Rivalry

The winner of each game in this rivalry is just a part of the story, and looking at the results in terms of betting lines tells a more complete picture. Boston has been the betting favorite in 15 of the last 20 games against the 76ers, but they haven’t always been the correct pick. The Celtics have won nine games while being the favorite, while the 76ers have covered as an underdog on six of those occasions. Philly has been the favorite the other five games, but they managed to win just one time as the favorite. If the Celtics are ever an underdog in this rivalry, then they are the correct pick. Looking at the over/under results can also help us make predictions about how these teams score when matched up against each other. The Eastern Conference rivals went “over” the total 12 times in the last 20 games, while hitting the “under” just eight times. Boston has clearly been the moneyline pick in this rivalry, but there are other predictions that can be made based on this history.