“This is not a rivalry. I don’t know our record against them but it’s pretty bad. They always kick our ass,” says Joel Embiid about the Sixers-Celtics matchup that has a long rich history. But today’s Sixers-Celtics isn’t Julius Erving v. Larry Bird and it isn’t Russell-Chamberlain either. This is some Celtics stomping the 76ers whenever they meet, and Embiid is right to say the characterization of it as a rivalry is unearned.
The Sixers have won exactly 3 of their last 22 against the Celtics including losing the 2018 season opener on the famous Boston Garden floor, prompting Embiid’s sage assessment. Part of that goes back to The Process, when the Sixers weren’t quite constructed to win — not that the players didn’t try. Embiid is quick to talk a little smack in games and wave his finger in defiance, but the gallant boaster spoke quietly as he considered what the Sixers will have to do to best the Celtics, clearly the beast of the East. As any recovery program will tell you, the first thing to do is admit there’s a problem — and Embiid showed candor and spit it out. Embiid continued: “We just have to keep working and figure it out.”
Joel Embiid in rivalry with Boston: “JJ mentioned it, this is not a rivalry. I don’t know our record against them but it’s pretty bad. They always kick our ass.” pic.twitter.com/IwuJ0YLL9A
— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) October 17, 2018