June 19, 2024

Celtics

“It’s powerful. However no excuses.”

Joel Embiid throughout Wednesday’s recreation towards Boston. Matt Slocum/AP Photograph
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The Boston Celtics defeated reigning MVP Joel Embiid and the red-hot Philadelphia 76ers 117-107 on Wednesday evening, vaulting Boston again atop the Japanese Convention.

The 76ers’ loss might have been blamed on their schedule — they’d simply misplaced to the Indiana Pacers 132-126 the evening earlier than — however Embiid stated the truth that the Celtics had been, in his thoughts, the NBA’s finest group could have had one thing to do with it.

“We’re skilled athletes. That’s the schedule, you simply gotta do it,” Embiid informed reporters after the sport. “However yeah, powerful. Particularly taking part in Indiana twice after which on a back-to-back, taking part in the perfect group within the league, it’s powerful. However no excuses.”

The Celtics could have dropped a recreation to the 76ers as soon as this season, however they wouldn’t let that occur once more. They held Embiid to twenty or fewer factors for the second time within the yr 2023, per Taylor Snow, thanks largely to the efforts of Celtics middle and notable Embiid-stopper Al Horford.

The 76ers are all too aware of the Celtics’ chokehold on them. They’ve been knocked out of the playoffs by their inter-division rival thrice within the final six years, they usually have a 13-24 report towards Boston since Embiid was drafted. They’ve been no match for the Celtics for some time now, however Embiid knew that a number of years in the past.

“This isn’t a rivalry,” Embiid stated in 2018. “They all the time kick our ass.”

It wasn’t simply the 76ers the Celtics have dominated this season. At 9-2, the Celtics have one in every of basketball’s finest information and have defeated a number of groups with successful information, together with the Pacers as soon as and New York Knicks twice. They had been the final NBA group to lose their first recreation with a 109-114 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Nov. 6.

As of Thursday, the Celtics have sole possession of the highest seed within the Japanese Convention. They’re maybe the perfect group in basketball, and the league MVP agrees.