The Sixers (46-25) on Wednesday night will meet the Boston Celtics (43-28) at Wells Fargo Center in their most important game left on the regular-season calendar. After sitting out against Charlotte for load management reasons, Joel Embiid is back in the lineup, while the Celtics' Gordon Hayward is out (concussion protocol).
When: 7 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC MyTeams app
Complete coverage of the Philadelphia 76ers and their rivals in the NBA from NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Here are three storylines to watch:
Sixers' starting five
Tonight will be just the eighth game that the Sixers' starting lineup of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, JJ Redick, Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler will play together. (Crazy, right?) That lineup (6-1) has posted a plus-17.2 net rating, which tops the Eastern Conference. The talent of their starting unit is not a question, but figuring out how to best utilize and play to everyone's strength before the postseason hits could determine how far this team goes.
In our postgame interview after last night's win over Charlotte, even Redick admitted that there is a psychological component to beating this Celtics team. While not every Sixer will publicly admit that, I'd be surprised if the majority didn't feel the same way. This Celtics team may not be the same cohesive unit the Sixers saw last year, but there is something about this matchup that gives Boston the confidence to take advantage of any and all mismatches. A win tonight against Boston would be huge for the psyche of this squad heading into the postseason.
Al Horford vs. Embiid
Horford vs. Embiid was the talk leading into their last game against Boston and it was the talk when the Celtics came out on top,112-109. Embiid won't publicly give credit to the Horford, but it seems like Horford has figured out how to get in his head, which isn't easy. Going back to the playoffs last year, Embiid is shooting just 36 percent when Horford is guarding him. All eyes will be on this matchup.
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