Sixers vs. Celtics

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Sixers look to finish daunting stretch 8-4

Sixers just 2-9 vs. Celtics in last 11

Dave Uram
February 12, 2019 - 8:58 am

On January 17th the 76ers began a very difficult 12-game stretch against playoff caliber teams that some considered season defining. If you polled a large group of people at the time, many would probably consider 6-6 somewhat successful. But, the 76ers have a chance to finish 8-4, and do so against the Boston Celtics, who have given the Sixers major problems ever since the start of the 2017-18 season. 

Related: NBA looking into Lakers' contact with Ben Simmons​

“When we are playing against Boston and you play in Philly, you don’t really need any extra motivation to go into that game,” T.J. McConnell said Monday at the Sixers Training Facility in Camden. “We all know what type of game it’s going to be like, and we just have to go and play like we did (Sunday) night and play together and excuse and hopefully that’ll take care of it.” 

In their last 11 meetings between the regular and postseason, Boston has won nine of the match-ups, which included a 4-1 series victory over the Sixers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals last season. What gets lost in the shuffle of that very telling stat is that seven of those 11 games were at TD Garden in Boston. Only three of those meetings were at Wells Fargo Center. Last year, the Sixers technically had a home game against the Celtics in London. 

Tuesday night will be the first showdown there between these teams this season

The Sixers should be able to take advantage of the phenomenal crowd they’re getting in South Philadelphia lately, as well as Kyrie Irving and Aron Baynes being out with injuries. Not to mention, the Celtics are reeling after giving up big leads in back-to-back home losses to the Lakers and Clippers, prompting Marcus Morris' viral postgame comments admitting the team lacks toughness and attitude. Also, it is the first time Boston will see what Brett Brown considers his third team this season, fresh off another blockbuster trade that happened last week. 

“I feel even stronger that playing against Boston we’re going to learn a lot,” Brown said. “Well coached team. Talented team. Probably you’re not going where we want to go unless you go through them and for those reasons I’m excited.”

While Brown is excited, he’s not letting Tuesday night’s result define what’s been an impressive 11 games prior to that. The Sixers beat the likes of the Warriors, Lakers twice, Nuggets, Rockets, Spurs and Pacers, while playing tough games against the Thunder and Raptors. 

“I would be lying if it doesn’t take upon a different meaning when you play the Celtics, but in relation to it sort of making or breaking this period of time that I think that we’ve playing good basketball, no,” Brown said.

Strap in your seatbelt as Tuesday is yet another nationally televised game against an Eastern Conference foe. The Sixers are due to get one against Boston, which can set the tone for a potential playoff mach-up down the line as these teams currently sit in the four and five seeds in the East. 

The Sixers are six-point favorites, per 

Brown doesn’t make a pitch for Bryce like his buddy Kerr 

The fight for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado rolls on in Major League Baseball as spring training begins this week. In terms of Harper specifically, USA Today reported over the weekend that the Giants plan to offer the 26-year-old superstar a “lucrative short-term deal,” which could possibly impede upon any aspirations the Phillies have to lure Harper to Philadelphia

With the rumblings about Harper and San Francisco going down this past weekend, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said during one of his press conferences, “Bryce, come to the Giants. Let’s Go.” 

Kerr and Brown are good friends from their days in San Antonio. Brown was asked what his pitch to Harper would be to come to Philadelphia, and he politely chose to pass. 

“I have no pitch,” Brown said. “I wish I could be more clever. I’m gonna stick to my sport.” 

A media member followed up by saying, “Hopefully that doesn’t make it or break it.” 

A good chuckled ensued, but in all seriousness, the odds seem to be slipping out of the Phillies favor, especially with a decision apparently coming this week.​ 

Maybe Brown should’ve said something.