Joel Embiid: Sixers haven't earned right to be called Celtics' rivals

Marcus Newton
October 18, 2018

The Boston Celtics will host the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday night at the TD Garden in the season opening game for both teams and a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference Semifinals. But incorporating high-usage stars like Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back into the rotation will take some time, as we saw in the preseason, when Hayward struggled to find his place in the Celtics' system.

The regular season begins Tuesday when the Philadelphia 76ers face the Boston Celtics and the Oklahoma City Thunder face the Golden State Warriors. And in the second half, the Celtics pulled away for a 105-87 victory. It sounds insane to even think about a game that far away, but the end of December will be here before basketball fans know it.

"This is not a rivalry", Embiid said.

At Boston, Gordon Hayward contributed 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting with four steals in his return after breaking his left leg in last year's season opener. "I'm sure it will get there". "I don't know our record against them but it's pretty bad, they always kick our ass so it's not a rivalry". That young talent alone was too much for the 76ers to handle, and expecting them to also account for Irving and Hayward without any significant offseason additions is just foolish at this point.

The 76ers went 52-30 last season, their best showing since 2001, to claim their first playoff berth since 2012, but lost to Boston in the second round. But if you make him see multiple defenders and force him to be unsettled, you can harass him into poor shooting nights like Boston did (Embiid shot 9-for-21 on Tuesday night).

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If there's anything anyone remembers about last season's opening night, it might be Hayward's gruesome ankle injury just minutes into his first game as a Celtic. Ben Simmons finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists.

Basketball is back in Philly after the team lost to the Celtics in five previous year, including falling in "The Confetti Game" where Marco Belinelli's buzzer-beater was presumed to be a game-winning three when it had CLEARLY been a long-two with his foot on the line. Ainge was able to snag Tatum with the No. 3 pick while also picking up an additional pick (we all know the backstory of the #KingsPick), while Philadelphia went with Markelle Fultz at No. 1 overall.

That's why some players will be looking to get off to hot starts. "But still we found a way to get the win".

The Celtics next game will be against another Eastern Conference powerhouse, the Toronto Raptors on Friday Oct 19. National Basketball Association owners love the idea of going (and expanding their franchise brand in that massive market) until they do it once and see the impact on their team when the games matter.

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