76ers Discuss Boston Celtics Ahead of Season-Opener
CAMDEN, NJ (973espn.com) — On the eve of the 2019-2020 season-opener, the Philadelphia 76ers were officially putting training camp and the preseason in the past. Sixers' head coach Brett Brown called for practice to wrap up early, and a majority of the team stayed on the court for a post-practice shootaround.
The atmosphere had a different feeling on Tuesday, as you could sense the excitement from the players within the practice facility in Camden, New Jersey. After a long offseason full of hard work, the Sixers will finally get the opportunity to put their upgraded skillsets to the test against a familiar opponent in the Boston Celtics.
As we know, these two teams do not like each other very much. And ever since the Sixers fell to the Celtics during the 2017-2018 playoff run, the intensity has been turned up on this rivalry. While the Celtics have a new look with a few of their past key contributors out of the picture, the matchup might not hold as much weight as it did last year.
However, that doesn't mean the Sixers are taking this matchup lightly. After speaking with Brett Brown and a couple of players, they all revealed that the Philadelphia 76ers surely wouldn't look past the Celtics. While Boston no longer has significant names such as Kyrie Irving or Al Horford in the mix, Boston's coaching alone seems to have the Sixers on notice as the matchup approaches.
"A team like Boston, they are well-coached," says Sixers star point guard, Ben Simmons. "Obviously, [they] picked up Kemba [Walker]. It’s going to be a good one for us. It's going to be a good test."
Sixers reserve forward, Mike Scott echoed the same sentiment on Tuesday when asked about Wednesday's opponent. "[They are] well-coached," Scott states. "They got young and athletic, rising stars. They just play hard. It’s definitely a rivalry — Philly versus Boston. It’s definitely going to get intense [and] physical. [I'm] looking forward to it.”
The couple of veterans who have experience playing against Boston assuredly weren't going to talk down about them. And neither would the Sixers head coach, Brett Brown. While he makes it clear he doesn't really look at any online power rankings or lists that are typically published before the season begins — Brown assumed that Boston hasn't been getting the credit they deserve this offseason, since they lost some critical prospects.
"In my opinion, Boston doesn’t really get the attention that I think they should," Brown says. "I think they have a bunch of dangerous scorers — they really have a bunch of dangerous scorers," Brown continues. "We’ve talked about [everything] we’ve practiced. I don’t think we’re going to get caught off guard. It will be a good test given they are kind of, very very different than we are.”
The dynamic between Philly and Boston is, in fact, quite different. The Sixers will head into this matchup as a lengthy team, with a focus on defense. Meanwhile, the Celtics aren't nearly as tall, and they are assumed to be equipped with more shooters, that Coach Brown describes as "dangerous."
Both the Sixers and the Celtics will look a lot different in 2019 in comparison to the last couple of years, so neither teams will know precisely what to expect until they step on the floor to face each other on Wednesday night. It won't be easy for Philly against the Celtics, as it never is — but the Sixers anticipate a fun and competitve matchup at the Wells Fargo Center for the season-opener.