NBA Basketball
Scoreboard| Stats|Standings|Teams|Players|Player News|Injuries|Transactions
87
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Philadelphia 21 21 24 21 87
Boston 21 26 30 28 105
105
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CTNaN:� , October 16, 2018
TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts  Attendance: 18,624

Celtics-76ers budding rivalry kicks off season

According to STATS
According to STATS

Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics

  1. Boston went 3-1 in the regular season against Philadelphia in 2017-18, and own a 14-2 (.875) mark against the 76ers since the 2014-15 season, its best against any opponent over that time. The last time these franchises met in the regular season opener after facing each other in playoffs the previous season was in 1959, when the Celtics beat the Syracuse Nationals, 121-109.
  2. The Celtics held their opponents to 100.4 points per game last season, third best in the NBA and tops in the Eastern Conference. Teams shot an NBA-low 33.9 percent from three against Boston in 2017-18.
  3. The 76ers ended last regular season on a 16-game winning streak, the longest ever by a team entering the playoffs. Philadelphia's year-over-year improvement of 24 wins was the largest in the NBA last season, and the largest jump in wins between two seasons in franchise history.
  4. Philadelphia's starting unit had a +18.7 point differential per 100 possessions while on the court last season, highest of any team in the NBA. The starting unit for Boston had a +9.2 point differential per 100 possessions in 2017-18, which was the third highest, behind Philadelphia and Houston (+10.0).
  5. In four regular season games against the 76ers last season, Jayson Tatum averaged 14.3 points on 46.5 percent shooting, failing to reach 20 points in any game. In five postseason games against Philadelphia, Tatum averaged 23.6 points on 52.6 percent shooting, scoring at least 20 points in every game.
  6. Last season, Ben Simmons joined Oscar Robertson in 1960-61 and Magic Johnson in 1979-80 as the only players in NBA history with 1000+ points, 500+ total rebounds and 500+ assists in their rookie season.
(AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

BOSTON -- The names have changed, but the rivalry is making a comeback.

Boston Celtics-Philadelphia 76ers.

It's not Bird, Parish, McHale, Erving, Barkley, Cheeks.

Instead, it's Irving, Hayward, Horford, Embiid, Simmons, Redick.

The rivalry is back, and the Celtics, who eliminated the Sixers in five games in last year's Eastern Conference semifinals, host Philly in the nationally televised NBA opener Tuesday night.

The Sixers, who had their season ended May 9 in the Game 5 loss to Boston, are a season better -- and the Celtics a season healthier as both enter the 2018-19 season.

"I think our future is amazing," Sixers coach Brett Brown said recently. "I see a progressive growth. I think we've got a chance to be good for a decade, I think we have a chance to be good for a long time, and that's what excites me the most."

It all revolves around Embiid, the big man who waited what seemed like forever to be healthy enough to play in the league. He laid blame for last year's elimination squarely on his own shoulders and is clearly the leader of this group.

"Last year, I thought we kind of made a mistake as far as playing against Boston," Embiid says. "I wasn't allowed to help off of (Aron) Baynes, especially when he was in the corner. We had a lot of times when Boston was driving to the paint and I wasn't in there or I was stuck in the corner because I wasn't allowed to help."

There has been an adjustment made, one that calls for Embiid to basically run the defense. However, the Boston roster that defeated the Sixers last year was without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, who are now healthy as the Celtics have emerged -- with the help of LeBron James heading to Los Angeles -- as the clear-cut Eastern Conference playoffs.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens, recently tabbed as the NBA's best in a poll of the general managers, said he has used the Red Sox, currently seeking their fourth title of the 2000s, as a teaching tool for his players.

"We've used them, as examples quite a bit," Stevens said Sunday. "The Brock Holt example last week of going for the cycle and getting a DNP the next day, is how you win, right? And being willing to take on those roles -- both as the guy that did it and the guy that replaced him the next night in Kinsler -- those things matter. They've set a great example for us as we move into a new year."

Irving enters an opt-out season vowing he wants to play the rest of his career in Boston but a re-work of his contract has to be part of that. His backup, Terry Rozier, can be a restricted free agent after this season and it appears 50-50 he will finish the season in Boston. He has earned the right to be a starter in the NBA.

Hayward, who shattered his leg in the first few minutes of his first season with his new team, has been brought along slowly and has had some back trouble as he makes his return.

Hayward, in a lengthy piece in Sunday's Boston Herald, talked about the difficulty he had missing all this time.

"Mentally, it was just to try and not think about basketball and not think about the situation I was in more than anything," he said. "Playing video games, I'm talking to my friends while I'm playing and keeping myself occupied. If you're down, and you're constantly sitting there or lying in bed, lying in the hospital bed thinking, 'Why am I not out there, I should be out there,' replaying different things in your head."

Now he's back out there -- and the deep Celtics roster goes about the task of putting down all comers -- like the Sixers, who should be better if only due to what is reportedly better shooting by Markelle Fultz.

The Celtics went 7-2 against the Sixers last season, counting playoffs and have won nine straight home games against Philly, counting the postseason.

And, as broadcasters love to say -- these two teams don't like each other.

"Yeah, definitely some animosity," says Boston's Jayson Tatum. "I mean, we won, so they're probably a little more fired up or angry than we are. But we're excited to play. We had a lot of good matchups with them last year, a lot of great battles, especially in the playoffs. We're excited, they're excited. Everybody is going to be watching."

Updated October 16, 2018

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2018 by STATS.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

Partner of USATODAY Sports Digital Properties