Bring On Boston

by Lauren Rosen

What We’ve Seen

With just a single seeding game remaining on the 76ers’ (42-30) slate, the playoffs loom right around the corner.

And as of Wednesday night, things were made official:

It’ll be a first-round rivalry matchup, No. 6 Sixers versus No. 3 Celtics (48-23).

If the four 2019-20 regular season matchups between the two teams were any indication, it’ll be a competitive and action-packed series.

The Sixers won the regular season series, 3-1. Here’s a look back at the four meetings:

October 23, 2019 - 107-93, 76ers

The Sixers hosted their rivals for Opening Night, and began their season on a high note. While Boston took a 25-20 advantage after the first quarter, the Sixers outscored Boston in each of the next three frames, storming back for an impressive, balanced victory.

Each of the Sixers' starters finished in double figures. Joel Embiid recorded his first of 37 double-doubles this season, tallying 15 points and 13 rebounds. Tobias Harris notched a 15-point, 15-rebound double-double of his own.

The Sixers dominated on the boards, 62-41.

December 12, 2019 - 115-109, 76ers

In the second matchup between the teams, this time played in Boston, Embiid had one of his most dominant performances of the season.

The big man finished with 38 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists. He hit 12 of his 21 shots, and made 12 of his 14 free throws. 

Sixteen of Embiid’s points came in the Sixers' close-out fourth quarter, as he went 4-for-5 from the field and 7-for-8 from the stripe.

January 9, 2020 - 109-98, 76ers

Back at The Center for the third meeting, Josh Richardson excelled, scoring a game-high 29 points, while shooting 9-for-16 from the field. Impressive contributions from Ben Simmons (19 pts, 9 reb, 3 ast); Harris (16 pts, 7 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl); and Al Horford (17 pts, 8 reb, 6 ast) pushed the Sixers over the top in Joel Embiid’s absence (left hand).

February 1, 2020 - 116-95, Celtics

The Sixers fell just one game shy of a regular season series sweep on Feb. 1, as the Celtics’ duo of Jaylen Brown (32 pts, 9 reb) and Jayson Tatum (25 pts, 3 reb, 4 ast) led Boston to victory.

Ben Simmons was the Sixers’ leading scorer, recording 23 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.

Looking Ahead

For Al Horford, it’ll be his first playoff series against his former team. He’s made the playoffs every season since his rookie season in 2008, when he was with the Atlanta Hawks.

“For us, it’s a great opportunity,” Horford said Wednesday. “I’m grateful for another year to be in the playoffs, and to be able to compete, and go out there and do what we do.”

The Sixers and Celtics last met in the playoffs in 2018, as the C’s eliminated the Sixers, 4-1, in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

The 76ers will seek the opposite outcome inside the bubble, looking to overcome the absence of Ben Simmons (left knee).

Tobias Harris says the Sixers' chemistry is as good as it’s ever been. Following the Sixers’ matchup with the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, Harris’ thoughts on facing Boston in the first round were simple:

“My thoughts are let’s win.”

Check back into Sixers.com for details on the Sixers’ first round schedule.

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