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Celtics’ Kristaps Porzingis (knee), Jaylen Brown (illness) out vs. Sixers

Joe Mazzulla will be a bit shorthanded when his Celtics head to Philadelphia looking to slow down Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey and the Sixers.

Boston Celtics v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

The Boston Celtics (8-2) have announced that they’ll be missing two key players for Wednesday night’s battle vs. the Philadelphia 76ers (8-2). The Sixers are in first place, possessing the standings tie-breaker since they won their first head-to-head vs. the Celtics.

We have yet to learn if Joel Embiid will be available. Since the 76ers played and lost to the Indiana Pacers Tuesday, this battle for first vs. the Celtics marks the second game of a back-to-back for Nick Nurse’s group. Boston is well rested having defeated the Knicks on Monday.

The game is on national television on ESPN, and it is the Boston Celtics so we’re expecting Joel to give it a go. Per Malika Andrews on X:

Embiid is listed as questionable for the second straight evening, dealing with hip soreness. Nick Nurse said pregame that Embiid will warm up and will be a game-time decision.

But the 2023 MVP did suit up Tuesday so if he didn’t aggravate that issue chasing Myles Turner, perhaps he’ll be out there this evening. But Brown and KP missing this game is really a golden opportunity for the Sixers. A win would ensure that they’d at least split their four games vs. Boston this season 2-2. They would play two more games in Boston, the first on Dec. 1, and the second in late February.

The Sixers will have to win this game without Kelly Oubre Jr., the sweet shooting wing still out with a fractured rib suffered during a recent accident; and Nico Batum is out again for personal reasons. The team missed Oubre and Batum in their last loss so these are important absences in their own right. They didn’t have Batum available when they last beat the Celtics back on Nov. 8, but he certainly could have provided a spark against a team featuring Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday.

Still, I’m guessing the news about KP and Brown will shift this line in the Sixers’ favor just a bit, even though it’s the Celtics who will be well-rested.

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