2/15 Game Preview: Celtics at 76ers


The Philadelphia 76ers will have to avoid looking forward to the highly anticipated start of the James Harden era.

With a strained hamstring, Harden is expected to be sidelined through at least the All-Star break.

The 76ers acquired the All-Star along with Paul Millsap on Thursday from the Brooklyn Nets for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round draft picks.

Philadelphia, which defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers in consecutive games this past weekend without Harden, will host the rival Boston Celtics on Tuesday.

The Sixers have been resilient while waiting for their proven scorer to make his team debut. Joel Embiid produced his fourth career triple-double with 40 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in a 103-93 win over the Cavaliers on Saturday.

"I mean I'm not even surprised at this point," Tyrese Maxey said of Embiid. "He's phenomenal and I try extremely hard not to take it for granted. You know it's because we see it consistently, every single night, you know his greatness. I don't want to take it for granted.

"I want to be able to, down the road, to tell people that I was able to be a part of something extremely special. He's amazing."

Embiid joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only other Sixers player in history to accumulate a 40-point triple-double.

"It's good that it happened with a win. Obviously, Wilt, he's got all the records," Embiid said. "But, it's good. Gotta keep going. That's who have to be and that's how dominant I have to be. Obviously, I'm always trying to make the right plays offensively. But my main thought when I catch the ball is always to score first. Passing is secondary.

"If they're going double team, I'm always gonna make the right pass and trust my teammates."

The red-hot Celtics will be looking for their ninth consecutive victory in Tuesday's game.

The Celtics defeated the Atlanta Hawks 105-95 on Sunday thanks in large part to Jayson Tatum's 38 points and 10 rebounds. Jaylen Brown added 17 points and nine rebounds for the Celtics, who looked completely in sync offensively.

"We were generating good looks," Tatum said. "We talked about getting stops, getting out in transition, and attacking the basket. If they over help, then we kick it out, but try not to settle as much. And that's what we did."

Tatum and Brown had trouble meshing earlier this season, but those issues now appear to be in the past.

"We definitely lost some games we felt like we shouldn't have lost early in the season," Brown said. "Now we get the chance to play some of these teams again and we're looking to pull out some wins. We had a lot of guys making plays right now and that's what we need to do in the fourth quarter.

"We've been finding ways to win - defensively, timely baskets and we've been sealing out games," Brown added.

Derrick White provided a boost with 14 points off the bench. It was White's second game with the Celtics since being acquired at the trade deadline from the San Antonio Spurs.

"Derrick is a threat," Brown said. "You gotta respect him, you got to guard him. He makes shots, plays the game like a playmaker. So it just opens the floor up for everybody else."

The Sixers have won two of the three games against the Celtics in advance of the finale in the regular-season series.