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Sixers Go for Two Straight Against the Celtics

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No Joel Embiid, and the Celtics are in town ... lovely.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Boil the bad blood. It’s that time once again.

Tonight, the Philadelphia 76ers welcome (or contently allow) the Boston Celtics to the Wells Fargo Center for the second time this season.

Last time Boston was in town was opening night when the Sixers handed the Celtics a 107-93 loss. A month or so later, the Sixers went into Boston and beat the Celtics 115-109. It’s nice to see the Sixers have Boston’s number this year after what seemed like eons where the Celtics always seemed to win – blowouts, close games, whatever.

The Al Horford angle has added a new twist to this rivalry, but it shouldn’t be that big of a deal anymore. On opening night, Horford had 16 points in the 14-point win, but he was not available when the Sixers played in Boston.

Speaking of being not available, Joel Embiid won’t be available tonight as he recovers from a dislocated finger suffered on Monday night in the Sixers’ win against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Embiid’s absence will be felt, of course. He averages 26.5 points, 13 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game in about 30 minutes per game (29.7). Who picks up the offensive slack? If there’s a basketball god – and I believe there is one – this is the game where Horford drops 25-plus on his old team.

On the plus side, our son returns!

Kyle Neubeck at Philly Voice tweeted yesterday that rookie Matisse Thybulle was a full participant at practice and will be available against the Celtics tonight. It’ll help to have another shooter in the lineup – especially one that’s shot over 40 percent from 3 this season.

The Celtics have lost two straight after losing to the Washington Wizards on Monday night and again to the San Antonio Spurs last night. (Great. Boston is going to come out angry.) DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points for the Spurs in the win, and the Celtics didn’t have one 20-point scorer. Gordon Hayward led the way with 18 on 7-of-14 shooting, but the rest of the Celtics were frigid from the field like today’s weather.

Jayson Tatum was 5-for-16, Jaylen Brown was 5-for-14, and Kemba Walker only took six shot attempts before being ejected for the first time in his NBA career for arguing foul calls midway through the third quarter. So, all of those guys are just going to have 30 points each tonight, right? That’s happening.

It would be nice if the Sixers continued some of their good shooting lately to counteract such a thing. Josh Richardson scored 23 points on 17 shots against the Thunder on Monday night, and Tobias Harris was 4-of-6 from deep. Thybulle’s return gives the home squad another wing shooter. It should be a good night – especially if we have “aggressive Ben Simmons”.

Previous Box Scores:

October 23, 2019: Philadelphia 107, Boston 93

December 12, 2019: Philadelphia 115, Boston 109

Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics
When: 7:00 pm ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia, TNT
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic
Follow: @Liberty_Ballers

Injuries

Philadelphia: Joel Embiid (out - finger); Matisse Thybulle (probable - knee)
Boston: Robert Williams (out - hip); Vincent Poirier (out - finger); Romeo Langford (questionable - illness)