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Thoughts from Philly on the Celtics-Sixers series

 The Celtics Second-Round series is against the Philadelphia 76'ers and starts Monday. Here are some tidbits from the City of Brotherly Love via's Kyle Neubeck:

 "It is Sixers-Celtics in the playoffs for the 22nd time in the playoffs, the most meetings between a pair of franchises in the history of the NBA."

"As it pertains to the big man, Philadelphia has been guarded about Embiid's availability, with Doc Rivers coy about what he knows during sessions with the media. The overwhelming consensus, though, seems to be that Embiid should be ready to go at some point early in this series, with much of the reporting centered around nice words like "optimism" and "hope" rather than "crying in a corner" and "praying for a miracle from the flying spaghetti monster." 

"If Philadelphia has to go into Game 1 next Monday without Embiid, it should be noted that the Sixers' record without the big man is up to a robust 12-5, which includes their Game 4 victory over the Nets in round one. They have managed to forge a coherent identity with and without him, which has been the focus during their first practices of the week in Camden."

"A matchup with the Celtics is sure to bring on some existential dread for the fanbase, who have seen the Celtics beat the Sixers during this era of basketball and frankly all throughout history. Boston holds a commanding 14-7 lead in the previous 21 series matchups. Philadelphia has not won a playoff series over the Celtics since 1982, when Andrew "The Boston Strangler" Toney dropped 34 points on Boston in a decisive Game 7. With homecourt in their possession, the Celtics will almost certainly be heavy favorites throughout the series — the Celtics opened at -320 to win the series, and -7 in Game 1."

There you have it from Philadelphia. The Celtics indeed are "heavy favorites" whether Joel Embiid is on the court, or not. The past history between the two Eastern rivals means nothing. But Joe Mazzulla must have two distinct defensive schemes ready - one for Embiid's presence on the court - and yet another when he is absent. The rivalry survives.


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