Last night may have revealed a startling truth about the Boston Celtics this season: the Philadelphia 76ers may be their Achilles heel.
Another match-up against the 76ers…another loss for the Boston Celtics. Now responsible for over a quarter of the C’s losses, Philadelphia is proving to be more than just a thorn in the side of the Celtics; they may be their kryptonite.
The final score read 109-98 on last night’s loss for Boston, dropping them to 0-3 against a squad missing Joel Embiid (hand injury). At 25-8 against every other team, it’s a little nerve-racking to think that a match-up against Brett Brown’s men could prove to be insurmountable based off of the results we have witnessed so far in 2019-20.
If you look at the results of the two teams’ match-ups thus far this season, there are a few things that stand out. First, the 76ers are dominating the Boston Celtics on their home-court. So far, they’ve lost both games by a combined 25 points. Last night’s loss may not have been as bad as opening night judging by the final score, but given the context of Philadelphia missing their best player…it is unquestionably worse especially given that this was their third straight loss.
The Celtics are in the midst of their worst stretch of the season. Losing to a division rival stings, but the 76ers are also the team that poached Al Horford away. The Horford-Embiid duo could ultimately be what downs Boston in a seven-game series, especially if Horford could play like he did Thursday (17 points, eight rebounds, six assists) for an extended stretch.
Several key Celtics fell short in Thursday’s loss. Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward laid eggs. Josh Richardson held the duo in check while also contributing 29 points of his own. With other capable defenders like Matthise Thybulle and James Ennis on the roster, Philadelphia may have answers all over the floor for the C’s jump-shot heavy offense.
If last night’s game worried you, just know you are not alone. The Houdini is–and has been–very scared of the 76ers. With one more match-up to go, there is time for the Celtics to prove that they can beat Brett Brown’s squad.
That is no guarantee, though. Right now, it looks like Philadelphia may just be the Achilles heel of the 2019-20 Boston Celtics.