Boston Celtics: 4 matchup challenges vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Now, the future of the National Basketball Association will be on full display with Embiid and Simmons vs Brown and Tatum. Slowing him down gives Boston the best chance to win, as such was shown in the regular season. "They're terrific." The Sixers, who have waited through years of tanking to get back to respectability, took care of the Miami Heat in five games of the first round and get the latest shot at their long-time rivals.

Boston may be hard-pressed to beat Philadelphia without Kyrie Irving, although the team has more playoff experience and a strong home-court advantage.

The Sox had just beaten the Tampa Bay Rays in walk-off fashion, while the City of Boston was simultaneously buzzing at the Celtics getting ready to knock off the Sixers in Game 7 at the TD Garden and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. For the Celtics this series will come down to how much offense they can find as the 76ers have several players who can score and showcased that depth in their first round series win.

Yet, if any team is prepared to adjust to another dose of adversity on the fly, it's a squad that's played all but five minutes of the season without its marquee free-agent acquisition in Gordon Hayward, and the final month of the regular season and all of the playoffs without five-time All-Star Kyrie Irving.

With the win, Boston will face Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference semifinals. His 26-point performance in Game 7 led the way to the series-clinching victory. Al Horford pitched in 21 points and 8 rebounds.

76ers' JJ Redick, $6,200: Redick has been somewhat streaky in these playoffs, but he still has managed to lead the team in scoring through the first series. Dario Saric and Robert Covington were a combined -33 while on the court.

Playing in London the Celtics outscored the 76ers by 20 in the second half including 37-22 in the third quarter. Brown also talked about driving down I-95 from Maine with his father to the Boston Garden to watch the history unfold on the Parquet floor. The C's have been a markedly different team at home than on the road, and Rozier has been the poster child for that. The 76ers dominated from opening tip and led by 18 going into the fourth.

The Celtics also have a good group of guards now that Marcus Smart is finally back from a thumb injury. "And following Game 7, the Bucks" point guard just wants to bury the hatchet.

The Celtics may not be the favorite in this series, but they're a scrappy and well-coached bunch. The matchup is in Horford's favor. The Celtics can attack him with brawn (Aron Baynes) as well as athleticism (Horford).

The Sixers, of course, came up on the losing end of the series after walking out of the first round in six games, completely unscathed as an eight seed, mainly because of Bulls' star guard Derrick Rose going down with a torn ACL, the beginning of his demise.

  • Joey Payne