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"This is not a rivalry", Embiid said. "They were tremendous. It was everything I expected when I originally signed here". They always kick our ass. That mentality could help Boston pull off some upsets when the games really start mattering next spring.
Even though this one's an unlikely scenario, I think we all agree to the fact that is the playoff series most fans look forward to this season, especially considering how heated things got during their last preseason matchup when Lance Stephenson was ejected.
Before Tuesday's game, Simmons said he didn't consider the Celtics his team's biggest rival.
It's especially tough on Embiid, the gum-flapping, oft-tweeting big man who called Celtics center Aron Baynes "man bun" during the playoffs previous year. Worse, defensively, he found himself on the wrong end of switches several times on Tuesday.
Sure, losing Gordon Hayward hurt a lot, but it didn't change the limitations. "But we have the depth on the team to do that so well".
Irving returned to the starting lineup for the first time since March 11 when he suffered a knee injury that ended his 2017-18 campaign early. It sounds insane to even think about a game that far away, but the end of December will be here before basketball fans know it.
I was stunned when the results of last season's Coach of the Year vote came back and Dwane Casey got the nod.
If Brown sticks with the plan he originally outlined and makes it a priority to use Fultz as much as possible as a point guard, he should get more of the "incredible" Fultz and less of the passive kid reluctant to shoot outside the paint.
Celtics' second-year star Jayson Tatum led all scorers with 23 points to go with nine rebounds as Boston signalled their intention to be one of the powerhouses of the new season.
Still, Fultz wasn't exactly put in positions tailor-made for his success. Brown explained his reasoning before the game.
"We were excited to have (Gordon) and Kyrie back", Tatum said. "He could be captain of that challenge, that mindset". I try to coach him without the knowledge of his draft order. There's still a lot to learn, adapting to double teams and playing through contact, which I'm going to do more of this year. That's how I am approaching it. "It's inevitable he will have ups and downs".
The Sixers are going to be good this season. After that, he plans to play different combinations blending the starters with a second unit loaded with players who played instrumental roles in last year's run to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. Markelle Fultz, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will all be on the court for Philadelphia.