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Philadelphia 76ers (12-6) at Boston Celtics (14-4) Game #19 12/1/23

Here come the Sixers, just maybe not all of them.

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

We’re just over a month into the 2023-24 NBA season and the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers are already set to see each other for the third time. Philly took the opening matchup between the two sides when they held off a late charge from the Cs to win 106-103 back on Nov. 8. The Celtics got their lick back a week later when they went into Well Fargo Center and picked up a 117-107 victory, despite being without Jaylen Brown and Kristaps Porzingis.

The Nick Nurse era in The City of Brotherly Love has gotten off to a great start. The Sixers enter tonight’s matchup fourth in the Eastern Conference with a record of 12-6, just two games behind the first-place Celtics. Nurse has got Philly’s offense buzzing. They currently hold the NBA’s second-best offensive rating at 120.0.

Tyrese Maxey is looking like a prime candidate for the league’s Most Improved Player award as he’s taken a major leap with James Harden’s departure. Maxey is averaging 27.0 points, 6.7 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game while converting on 46.4% of his attempts from the field and 39.7% of those from beyond the arc. He’s been fantastic through the first 18 games. Fortunately, he hasn’t fared as well in the two games against Boston. The former Kentucky standout is down to 22.5ppg on 40.5/33.3 splits.

STARTERS

Tyrese Maxey | Jrue Holiday

De’Anthony Melton | Derrick White

Tobias Harris | Jaylen Brown

Nicolas Batum | Jayson Tatum

Joel Embiid (?) | Al Horford

BENCH ROTATION

Patrick Beverley | Payton Pritchard

Marcus Morris Sr. | Sam Hauser

Paul Reed | Luke Kornet

Robert Covington | Dalano Banton

Any time these two teams meet there is going to be a big-game feel in the arena. That remains true with both sides having major players listed on their respective injury reports. For the Celtics, Porzingis will be sidelined for his third-straight game as he recovers from the right calf strain that he suffered last Friday against the Orlando Magic. As for the 76ers, they could be without their reigning MVP Joel Embiid, who is listed as questionable due to illness.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Embiid traveled with the team to Boston after sitting out of their loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday. Multiple reports indicated that the big man did not participate in Philadelphia’s morning shootaround at TD Garden.

Oddly enough, when Embiid was out on Wednesday, it was old friend Marcus Morris Sr. who got the starting nod at the center spot. It’ll be interesting to see what Nurse elects to do should his star have to miss tonight’s game at TD Garden.

In addition to Embiid, Kelly Oubre Jr. (Out - rib soreness), Danuel House Jr. (Out - left quad contusion), Nicolas Batum (Probable - right finger soreness), and Jaden Springer (Probable - illness) were all on the Sixers’ injury report.

The Celtics are coming off of a massive win in their In-Season Tournament group-stage finale against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday. Their 27-point margin of victory was enough to eclipse the 22-point deficit that they’d created in Group C last Friday in Orlando. Jaylen Brown led the way with an efficient 30 points. Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Jrue Holiday, Derrick White, and Payton Pritchard all managed to pitch in with double-digit outputs of their own.

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