BOSTON — The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers are shaping up to be the next great rivals of the Eastern Conference, but at the moment, Joel Embiid doesn’t see it that way.
The Celtics used a strong second half Tuesday to cruise past the 76ers on Opening Night for a 105-87 victory at TD Garden. Embiid’s 23 points and 10 rebounds helped Philly hang around, but it wasn’t nearly enough to even threaten for a road win.
After the game, Embiid was asked about the rivalry between the C’s and Sixers, and the outspoken big man provided about as candid of an answer as could be.
Embiid personally hasn’t experienced much success against the Celtics in his career. With Tuesday night’s loss, the 76ers moved to 2-15 against the C’s in regular-season matchups dating back to the 2014-15 campaign, the season in which Embiid entered the league. While Embiid only played in four of those contests due to injuries and rest, Philadelphia’s lack of recent success against Boston is noteworthy, to say the least.
However, the 24-year-old did suit up for every game of last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals series between the C’s and Sixers, which saw the green dispatch their division foe in just five games. Embiid shined for the bulk of the series, but Philly largely was outclassed by Boston when it mattered most.
All told, the 76ers will need to buck this trend against the Celtics if they have any hope of reaching the NBA Finals in the near future.