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The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics kick off their second-round soirée on Monday night inside TD Garden. The Sixers are looking to notch their first Eastern Conference Finals appearance since 2001 and avoid a fifth second-round exit in six seasons. They may have to do at least some of it without the services of superstar big man Joel Embiid, who is listed as doubtful for Game 1 because of an LCL sprain in his right knee. Boston is aiming for a fifth Eastern Conference Finals berth in seven years and third playoff victory over Philadelphia in six seasons.
In the first round, the Sixers swept the Brooklyn Nets. The Celtics were pushed to six games by the Atlanta Hawks before closing things out on the road. The last four games of that Hawks-Celtics series were quite competitive. According to a recent poll, 55 percent of Sixers fans feel better about the team’s second-round chances after the first-round results. Whether it’s Embiid’s status or the outcome of Monday’s Game 1, we’ll certainly have much more welcomed information about this series in the coming days and hours.