Saturday, 20 April, 2019

Celtics: Long dormant rivalry with 76ers is heating up

Joel Embiid Sixers defense predicted to be one of NBA's elite groups this season
Jennie Wade | 18 October, 2018, 09:03

Baynes was right back at it in Tuesday's season opener as he was a massive presence in the paint, while scoring eight points, with three rebounds, three assists and two more 3-pointers in 19 minutes of a 105-87 triumph.

With days to go before the start of the regular season, the Boston Celtics' sophomore star had a hard day of practice as the team prepared for the long road that they hope culminates in a championship.

Outside of their wildly talented starting five that features the likes of Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Jayson Tatum, the Celtics' second unit consists of players that likely would be starters on other teams. 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. They always kick our ass. But with Boston taking seven of their last nine matchups, Embiid said it really isn't much of a rivalry at all.

BEN Simmons proved his rookie year was no fluke with a stellar performance in the opening game of the National Basketball Association season but it wasn't enough to prevent a thumping at the hands of eastern conference rivals Boston.

The Celtics also got meaningful contributions from their bench, as Marcus Morris finished with 16 points in a 7-for-12 night shooting from the floor, and hauled in 10 rebounds by the night's end. "I don't know our record against them". Joel Embiid added 23 points and 10 rebounds.

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In his post-game interview, Hayward thanked God, his family, and his teammates for sticking with him over the a year ago, saying he'll lean on them again as challenges arise throughout the season.

It would be nice to blame the Sixers struggles opening night on that. but their problems against the Celtics were bigger than frequent flier miles in the preseason.

"I'm planning on playing him, and if he feels good he'll be ready to go", Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau said after an abbreviated practice on Tuesday, before the team departed for the airport for the trip.

The opening-night spotlight was on Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving as they returned to the Celtics following season-ending injuries. One of Fultz's best attributes in college, and the main reason he seemed like the flawless player to put next to Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, was his ability to hit pull-up jumpers from mid-to-three-point range. Heck, as Embiid and point guard Ben Simmons continue to develop, that could be the case for the next three or four years. And on the Thunder side, we'll get our first look at their new point guard Dennis Schroder. However, the Celtics gave the Sixers a reality check Tuesday night at TD Garden, reminding them of just how far ahead they truly are in the east.

"We were talking the whole game", said Tatum.

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