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Sixers vs. Celtics Preview: Saric comes in red hot, Okafor trade talk stalls

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Dario Saric and the gang are shipping up to Boston

Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Am I More Than You Dario-ed For Yet?

Here comes Dario Saric, the likely Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for February! As long as a Sixer is taking home this trophy every month, this season continues to be a success. Saric is playing the best ball of his short pro career at the moment, averaging 20.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.3 steals on 53.4/45.5/90.0 shooting splits over his last four games, all the while coming off the bench as a reserve. With Saric running in transition like “a bull in a china shop,” as Brett Brown frequently said regarding the Croatian’s game over the years, the 76ers are riding a three-game win streak as they take on the Celtics in Boston.

The Cs have been tearing up the league in 2017, winning 10 of their last 11 games behind Isaiah Thomas’ 33.2 points per game during that span. Brad Stevens’ team stands at 36-19 as the second seed in the East, but the Sixers have played them close in their two previous matchups this season, losing by five points total between those two games. Joel Embiid won’t be suiting up for the Sixers as he did in their last meeting, a 110-106 defeat on January 6, but an Embiid-less Sixers team hung tough for a 110-109 loss back on December 3.

A Sixers rookie, as they historically seem to do, made a highlight reel-quality crossover that night in December, as Saric himself had Jonas Jerebko falling to his knees with this “wicked nice” move in a 21-point performance:

Given his current shooting steak, the Sixers may once again rely on Saric to shoulder the scoring load in an effort to keep things close with Boston.

It remains to be seen, however, whether Saric will come over this summer from his Turkish club or whether he’ll hold out for more money in the future.

Where in the World Is Jahlil Okafor?

In Boston with the Sixers, for the moment, per John Gonzalez.

Here’s the question I’m wondering: Will Jahlil Okafor be a Sixer by tipoff? While I haven’t been the biggest fan of his play during his tenure in Philadelphia, Bryan Colangelo hasn’t done right by him as a player at this point. The “Man of Action” himself made it known that Okafor sat out Saturday night’s game against the Heat and Monday’s match in Charlotte because of trade rumors. Why? He’s sat out games on numerous occasions already this season, why not just use a center rotation of Nerlens Noel and Richaun Holmes this past week as they’ve done previously and stop leaking info about what they’re doing with him? This reunion could be messy and awkward if trade rumors continue to persist throughout this week and the All-Star break.

I’ll always back a player and his rights over a team’s carelessness, even if said player’s father wants to slap me.