Another Round With Celtics, This Time at Home

by Lauren Rosen

Scene Setter:

One of the NBA’s hottest rivalries in recent years reignites Tuesday in South Philadelphia, as the 76ers (36-20) host the Boston Celtics (35-21).

The contest offers the fourth-place Sixers the chance to further distance themselves from the fifth-place Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings.

Although the Celtics may not be fully loaded as they visit The Center (All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving did not make the trip due to a knee injury), any game between these teams is one worthy of attention.

TJ McConnell said it best Monday:

I feel like when we’re playing against Boston, and you play in Philly, you don’t really need any extra motivation to go into that game. We all know what type of game it’s going to be like.

The Celtics won the first two games of the 2018-19 series, beating the Sixers in the season opener, 105-87, and then again on Christmas Day, 121-114, in overtime.

But Tuesday’s game marks their first meeting this season at The Center – and it couldn’t come at a better time for the Sixers.

The Celtics’ visit will be the third post-trade deadline contest featuring new faces, chief among them Tobias Harris.

Harris has made a strong impression in his first two games, recording 22 points, six boards, and six assists in the team’s 143-120 win over the Lakers Sunday.

“This is a really good team with really good players -- great guys, great coach, great coaching staff, and guys who want to help,” Harris said.

Joel Embiid collected 37 points and 14 rebounds in Sunday’s matchup. Embiid has scored in double digits in each of his appearances this season.

Tuesday’s game is also the Sixers’ final home game prior to the All-Star break, and the last in a series of twelve consecutive games against teams with records over .500. The team is 7-4 in such matchups thus far.

Opponent Outlook:

After winning five straight, the Celtics have dropped their last two games to the Clippers and Lakers. Irving leads his team in scoring and assists, but is not scheduled to appear in Tuesday’s matchup. In Irving’s absence, the team will look to second-year forward Jayson Tatum (16.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Marcus Morris (14.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg).

Follow Along:

Audio: 97.5 FM The Fanatic / Sixers Radio Network

Video: TNT / tntdrama.com/watchtnt

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