How Ime Udoka Feels About Celtics, 76ers Rivalry Having Been On Both Sides

Udoka referred to the long-standing rivalry as 'unique'


BOSTON — Ime Udoka now has been on both sides of the Eastern Conference rivalry between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers.

And it’s led Udoka, who served as an assistant with Philadelphia in 2019-20 before joining the Brooklyn Nets for the 2020-21 campaign, to acknowledge the matchup, while different than that of the Celtics-Lakers, is still “unique.”

“It’s a unique one that you don’t really realize until you’re in it,” Udoka said before Wednesday’s game. “Obviously, they (Boston) swept us out of the playoffs a few years ago and even before that, spending time with Jayson (Tatum), Jaylen (Brown), Marcus (Smart) and Kemba (Walker) in China — they talked about it before realizing I was going to Philadelphia. And made some jokes like, you know, we got mind control over Philly, and Philly said the same thing when I was there.

“So it’s been something that obviously is pretty deep-seated,” Udoka continued. “Had a lot of series over the last few years and it’s a unique one that’s not broadcasted like a Celtics-Lakers one, but the teams are very competitive and a lot of guys cross paths with these two teams. It’s always a fight.”

Udoka, of course, is referring to when Boston swept Philadelphia out of the playoffs in the opening round in 2019-20. The Celtics previously eliminated Philadelphia in the conference semifinals during the 2017-18 campaign.

Both the Celtics and 76ers enter Wednesday with identical 11-10 overall records. Boston also is back to 100% healthy, according to Udoka, and is hopeful that will help them put together a productive stretch going forward.

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