While there’s still eight regular season games left to play before the NBA standings are final, there’s currently a strong chance the Sixers will be squaring off against the Boston Celtics in round one. With Boston in the third seed and Philly holding down the sixth seed, another playoff series between the old rivals seems inevitable.
Fellow Sixers’ writer David Esser wrote about how Ben Simmons performs against the Celtics. Now it’s time to move on the another incredibly crucial piece to winning this hypothetical series.
Career regular season stats v. Boston: 11 games, 32.5 minutes, 23.3 points, 12.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists
Along with the Knicks, Embiid has played the Celtics 11 times, the most against one team. In these games, Embiid has displayed how dominant he can be. With over a quarter of his games surpassing over 30 points (38, 37, 34), Embiid has shown the Celtics how he can be their king.
On the flip side, Boston, led by Brad Stevens, has been able to get under Joel’s skin at times as well. With four games under 20 points (15, 15, 11, 11), Boston does know how to contain the big man.
Despite his highs and lows, Joel has done a good job against Boston in big games. In the 2018 Eastern Conference Semifinals, a much different Joel Embiid only had one of five games under 20 points. Embiid displayed his ability to score and take over a playoff game early in his young career, and he knows as well as we all do that he’s ready to get a part two against the Celtics.
Another important note is that now that Al Horford is on his side now, not much can contain Joel against Boston anymore. Embiid has struggled offensively this season so far against Boston. However, he should take the edge over Enes Kanter while playing on a team that’s “built for the playoffs.”
Defensively, Joel has done a superb job at containing opposing Celtics’ centers. His 103 defensive rating is among the best he has against opposing teams. It’s obvious that Joel will need to bring his lows against the C’s this season in order for them to win. However, putting up 25 points a game will not be the most crucial thing from him. If Joel can guard the paint and allow Ben to flourish, he would still help the team more than anything.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports