But then, the Celtics had apparently built themselves a little minigame within Tuesdays game—humiliate Embiid at every possible opportunity, however small. Al Horford and even a flying little Terry Rozier got their spike blocks in. Tatum went at Embiid in isolation and banked in a fadeaway to transmute a frankly stunning perimeter defensive highlight into something that could be recognizably termed an own. Brown was just doing his part when he hurled himself off the earth to yam home this … partially blocked poster layup(?) that somehow also flung Embiid down to the hardwood.
This is not a rivalry, Embiid said after the Celtics won, 105-87. I dont know our record against them. But its pretty bad. They always kick our ass. So this is not a rivalry. Who is living rent-free in whose head, again?
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A Timely Preview Of The 2018-19 NBA Season, Which, Ah, Hm, Appears To Have Begun AlreadySome Pretty Funny Things That Happened In The Sixers-Celtics SeriesJayson Tatum Is Already A MonsterAbout the authorGiri NathanGiri NathanWriter
Joel Embiid Says Sixers-Celtics Isnt a Rivalry Because They Always Kick Our Ass
Share Share Markelle Fultz Has the Sixers Missing Element, but They Need Him to Show Up First tweet share Flipboard Email Getty Images/Ringer illustration Markelle Fultz might be moving on from his disastrous and mysterious rookie year. But despite all the shooting work he put in during the summer to get over whatever it was that scuttled his first year, it sure seems like he—and, by extension, the Philadelphia 76ers—might still have a problem to solve.
Last seasons no. 1 overall draft pick tipped off his sophomore campaign with his first NBA start, a designation intended to signal the 76ers confidence that Fultz can get back on track to becoming the franchise-changing force theyd envisioned before everything fell apart. His preseason was uneven; he finally made a 3-pointer but still appeared awfully skittish about letting it fly from beyond the free throw line. Phillys point guard of the present and hoped-for future opened up the 2018-19 NBA season with a hushed and curious performance in a lopsided loss to the Boston Celtics that answered few questions about where he stands, and invited plenty more.
Brown finished with 12 points, and he wasn’t the only Celtic to pick on Embiid. Terry Rozier came out of nowhere to swat away an Embiid shot as he tried to back down Aron Baynes in the first quarter. And Jayson Tatum continued his dominance of the 76ers with a game-high 23 points, capped off with a fadeaway banker that he drained right in Embiid’s face. Instead of a stare, Tatum gave Embiid a wink as he got back on defense.
The seasons first game between the not-quite-rivals bore a striking resemblance to the last ones they played, a five-game Eastern Conference semifinal series that Boston won handily. Fultz didnt log a second of floor time in that series, but in theory, he was exactly the player Philly could have used. The version of Fultz the Sixers thought they were getting in the draft would have served as a change-of-pace creator to wrong-foot the Cs, provide better service for Joel Embiid in the pick-and-pop and on the block, and offer a shot in the arm to an offense that averaged 6.7 fewer points per 100 possessions against Boston than it had against the Heat in Round 1.