The Tip-Off: Joel Embiid Ruled Out as Sixers Host Celtics

Coming off a dismal road trip, the Sixers finally returned home Monday night. Despite Ben Simmons “nearly throwing up” after a gruesome injury to Joel Embiid, the Sixers finally looked back to form. They played as a unit as they edged out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 120-113.

Up next comes another test for Philly. The Philadelphia 76ers (24-14) will host top rival Boston Celtics (25-10) at the Wells Fargo Center. Boston is coming off a blowout loss against the San Antonio Spurs last night.

Coverage will begin at 6:30 p.m. with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. on TNT. Radio coverage will be on 97.5 The Fanatic.

The Philadelphia 76ers are two point moneyline favorites with an over/under set at 217.5.

Injury Updates:

Joel Embiid

During Monday night’s game against the Thunder, Joel Embiid suffered a nasty finger injury as he went up for a rebound. Even though the big man was able to pop his dislocated finger back into place and play the remainder of the game, he is officially ruled out for this prime time match up.

Matisse Thybulle

Finally, Philadelphia’s much loved rookie, Matisse Thybulle, is expected to return from injury. After suffering a right knee bruise in a win over the Wizards on December 21, Thybulle has not played since. In fact, he has not even spoke to reporters since then, until Wednesday’s shoot around practice.

“You didn’t see me run over here? I feel great,” Thybulle joked. “I really do, I feel good. I’m excited, everything should be the same tomorrow.”

Matisse is most likely going to make his return in the pivotal game against Boston.

Kemba Walker

On the flip side of things, Boston’s star point guard missed three straight games with the flu. He made his return Wednesday night against the Spurs but was ejected late in the third quarter. Kemba argued a non-call, resulting in two quick, and much debatable technical foul calls, resulting in his ejection. Because of this, expect Kemba to come out in this game with a ton of fire, and with a bit extra rest.

This season so far

Philadelphia has owned Boston so far this season. To tip-off the season, these two Eastern powerhouses faced off in Philly. Led by Ben Simmon’s 24 points, the Sixers cruised passed the C’s in a 107-93 victory.

Next was a visit to Boston, where the Sixers again controlled play for the majority of the game. After hearing critism from Shaq and Charles Barkley, Embiid went off in response. The big man scored a season high 38 points, as the Sixers rallied past Boston 115-109.

Trends

The Sixers will only play 13 games this month, which will feel like a relief after playing 16 in December. Because of this, Philadelphia will be on two days rest before Thursday’s key game.

So far this season, Philly sports have a mediocre 4-4 record after having two or three days of rest. Boston will be playing the second half of a back-to-back, as they played the Spurs Wednesday night. In back-to-backs this season, Boston is 3-2 in the latter half.

Prediction

Philadelphia has been favored in every home game this season, and has a 16-2 record to show for it. However, not having Embiid could be a crucial part to this game. Meanwhile, Boston will be getting their key guy, “Cardiac Kemba” back.

It will be Ben Simmons’ time to shine. In his last eight games, Simmons has a 50% shooting percentage, while tacking on an average of a triple double (17.1 points, 10.3 assists, 10.3 rebounds).

Assuming Simmons keeps this up, his defense will continue to control Kemba as well.

It will be “No Embiid, no problem,” as the Sixers officially win the season series over Boston. Chalk up a 105-68 win for the good guys.

Mandatory Credit – © Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

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