New-look, same struggles: Sixers fall at the final hurdle once more against Celtics

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  Well, not surprisingly every time I watch the Sixers vs Celtics, I expect a different result and I always get a close game that Sixers never seem to be able to finish.  Last night’s game was just another one of those games that will drive any Sixers fan insane.

The thing that drove me the craziest was the Joel Embiid-Al Horford matchup.  I think everyone can agree that Embiid is a top 5 center in the league.  However, Embiid looks like a G-League player every time he is matched up against Al Horford.  Time and time again, Horford shuts him down in the pain.  I’m not trying to say that Horford is a bad player, but he’s not close to Embiid. Yet, time and time again, Horford is Embiid’s kryptonite.

Between Horford limiting Embiid, Gordon Hayward and Marcus Morris being a deadeye from the three-point line, and the fact that Kyrie Irving didn’t even play, it’s hard to look at that game and react in a positive manner.  Yet there are a lot of positive takeaways from that game

First and foremost, this is the THIRD game since the trade deadline.  Tobias Harris only had 10 points last night with the limited amount of opportunities he had.  Including Harris in the offense will be something that develops naturally over time the more this team plays together. A five-day window is not a lot of time to develop a lot of team chemistry.   Couple that with playing the Boston Celtics, who are a great time, and honestly that loss does not look that bad.  Come playoff time, I think the Sixers are going to be unstoppable.

I may have complained about Embiid’s play earlier on in this article, but he picked it up in the fourth quarter.  Joel had a couple of great defensive plays and a few crucial late-game rebounds and buckets down the stretch.  It was not his best game by any means, but once he gets past that mental block of the Boston Celtics, Embiid will dominate the Celtics like he’s done to plenty of other teams this entire year.

It’s a shame that the Sixers lost to the team we all probably hate the most.  Right now, Philly needs to move on from the loss, develop team chemistry and keep winning games.  Home court advantage in the playoffs will be crucial in the Eastern Conference.  This loss may sting right now, but come playoff time, the only thing that matters is who wins that best of seven series.

 

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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