On Wednesday night, the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics squared off in a battle of two of the Eastern Conference’s top teams. Despite a last-minute surge in the fourth quarter, Joel Embiid and company held on to win 106-103.
These teams squared off twice in the preseason, but the Sixers have changed dramatically since then. During the first week of the regular season, they executed a trade with the LA Clippers center around James Harden.
With a handful of games under their belt, the Sixers’ new additions have become acclimated with their new team. Nic Batum and Robert Covington played big minutes against the Celtics on Wednesday and played their part in the victory.
Following the game, Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla was asked his thoughts on the new-look team. He cited their added length on the wing following the trade and feels they’ve found their offensive identity with Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid.
Their spacing is different. You know [Tyrese] Maxey, his freedom is a little bit different. I think they’re a little bit physical with some of the length finishing with [Nicolas] Batum, finishing with [Robert] Covington, they’re long,” Mazzulla said. “You know, so I think there on the offensive end, they have their identity of their spacing. And defensively, they’re long and physical.”
The added length came up big for the Sixers in this game, as Nick Nurse was able to throw multiple bodies at Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. As for Maxey, he continues to be an emerging star for the Sixers. He was the Sixers’ second-leading scorer behind Embiid with 25 points to go along with nine rebounds, five assists, and a pair of blocks.
Some viewed this as a measuring stick game for the Sixers, and they delivered in a big way, picking up the win on their home floor. Despite all the drama surrounding the team for months, they continue to find a way to keep the positive momentum rolling.