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Sixers-Celtics Preview: Three Is The Magic Number

If the Philadelphia 76ers want to earn their first three-game winning streak of the season, they’ll have to knock off a Boston Celtics squad that has won eight out of their last 10 games.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Coach's Log... Stardate 0003 A.H. (After Hollis)

It broke my heart to cut Hollis the other day. I'll never forget the four-hour game of Monopoly we played back in 2014 after Media Day. Hollis was everything we wanted in a player. I've already asked Lloyd Pierce to leave a seat on the bench empty in his honor. At least until we fill that last roster spot.

I have to give Hollis credit: He took the news like a stud. All these years, he never went away. Hollis was a professional. Hollis was The Process. We've always been at war with Eurasia.

Tonight's matchup against the Boston Celtics marks the first game in the past three-plus seasons where Hollis Thompson - No. 31 in your programs, No. 40 in your heart - will not be suiting up for the Philadelphia 76ers. And yes, he was (and remains) a marginal NBA player, but Thompson is a true professional who went from undrafted free agent to a solid rotation option (not to mention the fact that he was pretty decent when it came to the 3 portion of the "3-and-D" talent the Sixers hoped he would blossom into).

Tonight also happens to be the third time this season that the Sixers will be chasing a three-game winning streak. For what it's worth, it's also the front end of a back-to-back for the Celtics, so maybe the Sixers will catch a Boston team looking ahead to their Saturday night matchup against the... * checks schedule * ... New Orleans Pelicans. On second thought, there will be plenty of for three-game winning streaks later in the season.

The last time these two teams met (December 3), Isaiah Thomas went off for 37 points in a 107-106 Celtics victory. Both Robert Covington and Joel Embiid missed that game, so it's only fair to assume that their presence (if they play - both are listed as questionable as of the time of this writing) will allow the Sixers to tighten the screws a bit defensively.

Brad Stevens's squad has a propensity to let it fly from deep - five Celtics average at least four three-point attempts per game - so it'll be vitally important for the Sixers to close out on the Boston shooters tonight. Special attention will obviously be paid to Thomas, who's just a week removed from a 52-point outing against the the Miami Heat.

The odds aren't with the Sixers on this one, but at the very least, tonight is yet another chance for a certain offensively-talented center to make his case for a free trip to NBA All-Star Weekend...

Jahlil Okafor. #NBAVote

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