The 76ers host the Boston Celtics on Friday night with the Eastern Conference Semifinal series tied 1-1. Game 3 is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and 97.5 The Fanatic. Six-time All-Star Joel Embiid will receive the newly-named Michael Jordan Trophy—earned Tuesday night as the 2022-23 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player—prior to tipoff.
Embiid joins Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Allen Iverson, and Moses Malone as the fifth 76er ever to earn NBA MVP honors.
“It’s amazing,” Embiid said. “It’s something that I’ve dreamt of and I’ve always wanted. This is just one step to whatever I want to accomplish, which is to win championships. It felt pretty good.”
The Celtics defeated the 76ers, 121-87, in Game 2 on Wednesday night in Boston. Jaylen Brown led all scorers with 25 points and this year’s Kia NBA Sixth Man of the Year Malcolm Brogdon added 23 points in 24 minutes off the bench.
Boston took 51 3-pointers in the contest, making 20—including six from Brogdon.
Embiid (right knee sprain) returned to action for the Sixers after missing the fourth and final game of the Brooklyn series, as well as the first meeting in this series. He recorded a game-high five blocked shots before halftime.
“He’s second to none, he’s one of one,” teammate James Harden said this season in regard to Embiid winning MVP. “And he continues to get better… Welcome to the club, well-deserved. I’m so proud, [he] had a hell of a year. Should’ve gotten it last year, too.”
When the Sixers last hosted the Celtics, a regular season contest on April 4, Philadelphia won 103-101 behind a dominant performance from the MVP Embiid: 52 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, and a pair of blocks. He shot 20-for-25 from the field and 12-for-13 from the free-throw line for his third 50-point game of the campaign.
“I don’t remember him missing a shot,” Harden said of Embiid after that outing. “That’s one of the most efficient 50’s I’ve seen.”
Following Game 3 Friday, the teams remain in the City of Brotherly Love for Sunday’s Game 4, a 3:30 p.m. start.
Friday is a 7:30 p.m. ET start in South Philadelphia.
Wednesday’s Top Performances:
Harris scored a team-high 16 points and pulled down seven rebounds in 33 minutes of play in Game 2 at Boston.
In 27 minutes of action, Embiid posted 15 points, three rebounds, and a game-high five blocks.
Harden notched a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, plus four assists in 32 minutes of play.
Maxey contributed 13 points, three rebounds, three assists, and a block in 30 minutes.
Quote to Note:
76ers Head Coach Doc Rivers, Thursday afternoon, on Joel Embiid’s return to the lineup in Game 2:
“He looked good, and his numbers were great. That’s the one thing—watching all of the numbers that we track, his numbers were great [Wednesday]... Just his speed that he reached, his explosions, they were very close to normal. So that was great for us to see.”
Follow Along Friday (7:30 p.m. ET):
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic