The Philadelphia 76ers needed until the final stretch of the 2018-19 NBA regular season, but they finally got their first win over the Boston Celtics this season. Now, they’re hoping to parlay that into some playoff success. But after the Sixers gutted out a three-point victory over their rival, star center Joel Embiid had a strong message.
“I’ve been hearing that these guys can guard me better than anyone else, so I had to come out and show that I’m the most unstoppable player in the league.” Embiid said.
This came shortly after Embiid blocked a Kyrie Irving attempt with roughly 30 seconds remaining and the Sixers leading by three. Jimmy Butler proceeded to knock down a clutch jumper on the other end and seal the outcome by extending the lead to two possessions.
Joel Embiid’s Dominant Night vs. Celtics
While the Celtics have been one of the few teams able to slow Embiid down over the past year or so (to some extent), Wednesday night was a very different story. The 25-year-old All-Star was dominant in every sense of the word, racking up 37 points with 22 rebounds while knocking down 20-of-21 free throw attempts. He was able to make life tough for Boston on the defensive end as well and played a big role in Philly outscoring them by 14 in the second half.
The 118-115 win over the Celtics marks the sixth consecutive for the Sixers and this stretch is coming at an ideal time with the team battling for playoff position. Not only are they in a good spot, but it seems they won’t face Boston in the opening round more than likely either.
Sixers’ Current Playoff Outlook
Wednesday’s outcome moved the Sixers to 47-25 on the season and extends their lead for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference to three games over the Indiana Pacers. Behind the Pacers sits the Celtics, who are close to a lock to be the No. 5 seed, considering the Detroit Pistons are a full six games back of them.
If the first round began today, Philly would host the Pistons in the opening round and couldn’t see the Celtics until the Eastern Conference Finals, assuming both teams made it. In terms of potentially moving up the standings, Embiid and company find themselves 3.5 games back of the Toronto Raptors and the No. 2 seed. Ahead of the Raptors, the Milwaukee Bucks are holding firm to the No. 1 seed and look poised to hold that spot entering postseason play.