Celtics Down Two Starters Entering Matchup With Joel Embiid, 76ers

Robert Williams III and Al Horford are OUT


Feb 8, 2023

BOSTON — While trying to guard Joel Embiid is hard enough at full strength, the Celtics will be down two starters in their attempt on Wednesday.

The Celtics announced that Robert Williams III (left ankle sprain) and Al Horford (right knee swelling) would both miss Wednesday’s matchup with Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers.

The absence of two Boston big men will presumably thrust Luke Kornet into the starting lineup, who is coming off a one-game injury leave himself. The only other traditional center on the Celtics roster is Mfiondu Kabengele, who has played in just two games this season. In an attempt to supplement the beef, Grant Williams and Blake Griffin could see increased roles as well.

In his last matchup against the Celtics, Embiid put together a 26-point, 15-rebound performance over the likes of Horford and Kornet, as Williams III was still recovering from offseason knee surgery.

Big nights are typical from the MVP candidate, who is averaging 33.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists on the season — presenting a tall task for whoever Celtics interim coach Joe Mazzulla decides to matchup him up with.

Marcus Smart will also be out of the lineup, pushing off his first meeting with Embiid since their skirmish back in October.

The lack of center depth behind Horford and Williams III has become a big topic of discussion entering Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, as the Celtics have reportedly made inquiries around the league.

Tip-off between the Celtics and Sixers from TD Garden is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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