Can the Celtics get revenge for the close loss they sustained earlier this season?
So far this season Jayson Tatum has been excelling, putting on incredible performance after incredible performance, showcasing why Celtics fans are proud to have him playing in Beantown. With his talents being displayed on both ends of the court game in and game out, it's easy to see why his name keeps appearing in MVP conversations.
If the Celtics are going to walk away with the victory on Wednesday night, Tatum will need to be on the court, especially while he plays at this level in order to counteract the current star power that the Sixers possess.
As I'm sure everyone has heard by now, Kristaps Porzingis has picked up an injury and is questionable for Wednesday's matchup with the 76ers. The right knee contusion has left a lot of fans worried, but with it being so early in the season, this is another good chance to see how they manage when missing one of their star players.
The question then looms, who gets the start in his absence? There are a couple of options that Joe Mazzulla might ponder when making this decision. I think Mazzulla's best option is going with a trustworthy, reliable veteran with proven capabilities - as well as the ability to guard big men like Joel Embiid - and that's where Al Horford comes in. Having an option like Horford to either come off the bench or fill in during an injury, is exactly why he is a vital piece to this Celtics Puzzle.
Boston Celtics Predicted Lineup
PG: Derrick White
SG: Jrue Holiday
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Al Horford
Despite the setback of Porzingis' injury, the Celtics are prepared to take on their formidable rivals with a slightly weakened lineup. However, having the option of Horford, the seasoned and proven veteran, will ease some fan's nerves. This lineup is still capable of walking away with the victory, and I truly believe that.
The Philadelphia 76ers have been performing at an incredible level so far this season, but can Boston spoil the party?
The Philadelphia 76ers have been arguably the strongest team so far this season, and with the loss of the multiple-time All-Star James Harden --who has gained social media trade proposals to the Celtics for some reason -- they don't appear to be weakened. With the Sixers climbing to the No. 1 ranking - according to the NBA - now is the perfect time for the Celtics to spoil the party.
The biggest obstacle for the Celtics will be the in-form duo of Embiid and Tyrese Maxey who have both been performing at an All-Star level, with Embiid, like Tatum, confidently throwing his name into the MVP conversation. It's beginning to look like no one is going to be able to slow down the reigning MVP, and with Porzingis questionable for this matchup, Horford will have his work cut out for him on Wednesday night - a task that we know he won't shy away from.
The season highs for this duo have been Embiid scoring 48 against the Washington Wizards and Maxey scoring a career-high 50 points against the Indiana Pacers - the Celtics defense will be well and truly put to the test in this one. With it looking likely that Horford will be tasked with the Embiid guarding duties, that leaves Maxey with the challenge of facing the All-Defensive backcourt duo of Derrick White and Jrue Holiday.
Philadelphia 76ers Predicted Lineup
PG: Tyrese Maxey
SG: De’Anthony Melton
SF: Tobias Harris
PF: Robert Covington
C: Joel Embiid
Embiid and Maxey are a huge threat that the Celtics will have to deal with without the help of Porzingis, surely leaving Sixers fans feeling confident - but it takes a lot to shake the unwavering belief from Boston fans. Will the 76ers secure a 2-0 record against the Celtics this season, or will Boston extend their winning streak to four games? All I know is that this clash promises drama, intensity, and fiercely competitive basketball, making it a must-watch for all fans.
Boston Celtics: Kristaps Porzingis – QUESTIONABLE – Right knee contusion
Boston Celtics: Neemias Queta – QUESTIONABLE – Right foot injury management
Boston Celtics: Jaylen Brown – QUESTIONABLE – Non-covid illness
Philadelphia 76ers: Kelly Oubre Jr - OUT - Fractured rib
Philadelphia 76ers: Nicolas Batum - QUESTIONABLE - Personal
Boston Celtics 112, Philadelphia 76ers 110