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Parquet plays: to double or not to double Joel Embiid

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Embiid had his two best games against Boston this week.

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

On Wednesday night, Joel Embiid had his best game against the Celtics, scoring 42 points on 12-for-19 shooting and 17-for-21 from the free throw line (insert Marcus Smart press conference here). He punished defenders from everywhere on the floor, including in the low post, high post, and hitting a three from behind the arc. For most of the night, Boston was content to send single coverage on him with a combination of Daniel Theis and Tristan Thompson with the mindset that you let Embiid get his and limit the rest of the team.

On Friday night, the Celtics doubled more with Embiid on the post. That didn’t seem to make too much of a difference in the box score though. The Sixers center still rang up 38 points, hitting 11-for-15 from the floor and 14-for-15 from the stripe. It was a lower point total, but unarguably a more efficient night.

If there is a silver lining for the Celtics, it’s Embiid’s five turnovers.

Not only does that negate a offensive possession for Philadelphia, but those turnovers turned into two offensive fouls on Embiid and six easy transition points for the Celtics.

However, it’s a gamble that didn’t always pay off. It’s on Tobias Harris above, but Boston’s rotations were slow all night. The Sixers hit 12-for-28 of their three-pointers, in some part due to over pressuring the ball.

In the past, Stevens has opted to not double often against Embiid or really anybody, but that was when he had Al Horford and Aron Baynes to lean on. The Celtics don’t play the Sixers again until the second half of the regular season, so we’ll have to wait until then to see how Boston approaches the MVP candidate in Rounds 3 and 4.