The Boston Celtics gear up for their game-one matchup tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers.
While this series is one we expected to see play out roughly four months ago, you know what they say…better late than never. The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers are finally set to meet in the first round of the Eastern Conference Finals in a series that could go either way in theory–but should go Boston’s way when the two teams hit the hardwood.
You see, the C’s no longer have the lockerroom friction that ultimately put a ceiling on how high the team could rise. The 2018-19 C’s had a little bit of everything: players calling each other out, on-court arguing, players overdribbling and not passing to teammates…oh and a second-round playoff exit.
Those issues no longer exist in Boston, instead replaced by harmony and teammates getting along. Marcus Smart has advocated for Jayson Tatum to get more awards love and vice versa. Jaylen Brown is calling out the unjailed murderers of Breonna Taylor instead of his coach or colleagues. Kemba Walker invited Grant Williams to live in his house during quarantine!
Philadelphia, meanwhile, is very much living the same truths as the malice-filled Boston Celtics of yesteryear. Al Horford has openly acknowledged the lockerroom issues and that there is something going on behind the scenes, while Joel Embiid has openly joked about leaving the 76ers joining Jimmy Butler in Miami.
With Boston having already gotten through the drama and Philadelphia seemingly in the center of it still, this seems like an easy series win for the C’s before a likely second-round showdown with the defending champion Toronto Raptors (unless hell freezes over and the bubble Nets upset them). That said, here are 3 keys to how they can do the first step of the job, winning Monday night’s game one: