Chamberlain vs Russell. Erving vs Bird. Belinelli vs Tatum. Confetti vs the scoreboard.
The Sixers and Celtics have a longstanding rivalry that is up there with any in professional sports. That includes recent entries in 2018 and 2020, with Boston ending the Sixers' season with victories in the second and first round of those playoffs, respectively.
More important than the history between these two clubs is how this series could impact the future of the 76ers. From James Harden and his potential free agency this summer, to the legacies of Embiid, Harden, Rivers, and Morey, the Sixers have a real chance to rewrite the narrative surrounding this team if they're able to pull off a series win over their longtime nemesis.
Yet despite all of that, all anyone can talk about is the right knee of Joel Hans Embiid, a frustratingly familiar place that Sixers fans find themselves in. Will he be available for either of the two games in Boston? Once he returns, can he stay healthy for the rest of the series? How close to 100% will he be? Will we ever get an answer to the question of how far a healthy Joel Embiid can carry a team in the playoffs?
There's so much potential intrigue in this series, and all of that is clouded by the uncertainty around Embiid. Hopefully, Embiid comes back and looks like himself so we can move on and focus on the basketball at hand, without applying any asterisks. If not, it's going to be a monumental, uphill battle for the Sixers in this series.
Included in this post:
- Sixers vs Celtics schedule.
- Previous matchups.
- Statistical comparison between the teams.
- Keys to the series.
- My prediction.