The Sixers are currently on a five-game win streak after being led by Joel Embiid (with 48 points) to a dominant win over the Washington Wizards on Monday. Philadelphia has found a level of well-spread success to start the 2023-24 campaign. Embiid and Tyrese Maxey have thrived as both scorers and playmakers, Tobias Harris looks as efficient as ever and Kelly Oubre Jr. has been a very welcome addition to the Sixers’ cast.
This is the first matchup of this season between these two East Coast teams, and Sixers fans will have tried to wipe their last series last season against one another from their memories. Back in May, the Celtics were able to overcome a 3-2 Sixers’ series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals, prompting yet another second-round exit for Philadelphia.
Since their own postseason exit in the 2023 Eastern Conference Final, the Celtics’ roster has only gotten stronger. Offseason additions of Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday help support the already dominant duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The Celtics won their first five games of the season before falling in overtime in their sixth and most recent bout against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
But this is a different Sixers’ team, too, in comparison to that fateful May series. The James Harden trade has shaken up with the starting lineup in addition to bringing in Oubre, and new head coach Nick Nurse has this team in a different gear than they seemed to be under Doc Rivers reign, both offensively and defensively.
Right now, on paper, these teams are neck-and-neck in this young season. Both have five players averaging double-digits points. Both have a duo of stars and impressive supporting casts. The teams are nearly level defensively, with the Sixers rated fifth and Celtics rated fourth, and they are tied in offensive rating in fourth place in the league.
With both teams going into Thursday night healthy, this should be an excellent basketball game and will be a great early test for the new Nurse-led, Harden-less Sixers.
When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic