KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Welcome to the playoffs.
The 76ers have been waiting for this moment since Kawhi Leonard’s four-bounce shot in Game 7 eliminated them from last season’s second-round series against the Toronto Raptors. We’ll see if they can redeem themselves and advance at least to the Eastern Conference finals.
Let’s face it. It won’t be an easy task for the team that’s not favored to get out of the first round, which begins to tonight. They are expected to lose in five games of their best-of-seven opening-round series against the Boston Celtics. Game 1 is at 6:30 p.m. at the Field House on Walt Disney World’s campus.
Come to Inquirer.com to get your latest information about the series. You can also keep up with the Sixers in this newsletter.
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The Celtics will not drink their own Kool-Aid.
They’ll tell you this isn’t the time to buy into the hype about being too powerful for the Sixers. Boston will also remind people that Philly won three of the four regular-season meetings.
“I think it’s going to be a good series,” Jaylen Brown said Sunday. “I think that without Ben Simmons, a lot of people are thinking, like counting them out. Those guys are looking over there and smiling at that.”
Brown expects the Sixers to come out ready to play, ready to execute and ready to be physical.
“And we have to be ready right along with them,” he said.
Monday will mark the 106th playoff meeting between the longtime Atlantic Division rivals. The Celtics hold a 58-47 advantage. Boston has also won 13 of 21 playoff series against the Sixers.
In fact, Boston has advanced the last four times it met the Sixers in a postseason series. Philly’s last series win came in the 1982 Eastern Conference finals.
Back then, Andrew Toney scored 34 points and Julius Erving added 29 in a 120-106 Game 7 victory at the Boston Garden to advance to the NBA Finals.
The Sixers went on to lose in six games to the Los Angeles Lakers. But that win over the Celtics, as a heavy underdog, was as big as any win in team history.
You have to commend Mike Conley for doing what’s best for his family.
The Utah Jazz point guard left the NBA bubble Sunday morning and is in Columbus, Ohio, for the birth of his son. The thing is the Jazz face the Denver Nuggets in the first round. Game 1 is at 1:30 p.m. today.
Conley expects to rejoin the team at some point.
But players have to quarantine for at least four days in their room upon returning to the bubble after an excused exit. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Wednesday followed by Game 3 on Friday.
While his decision could hurt the Jazz, one has to respect a man for putting the birth of his son first.
Today: Sixers vs. Boston Celtics at The Field House, 6:30 p.m., ESPN
Wednesday: Sixers vs. Celtics at The Field House, 6:30 p.m., TNT
Friday: Celtics vs. Sixers at The Field House, 6:30 p.m., TNT
Sunday: Celtics vs. Sixers at The Field House, 1 p.m., ABC
*Aug. 25: Sixers vs. Celtics at TBD, TBD
*Aug. 27: Celtics vs. Sixers at TBD, ESPN
*Aug. 29: Sixers vs. Boston at TBD, TNT
Send questions by email or on Twitter (@PompeyOnSixers)
Question: Who is your favorite 76ers power forward? — @ImDFC on Twitter
Answer: Thanks for the question. I assume that you are asking about my all-time favorite. If so, it’s Charles Barkley. How could it not be him? He was a six-time All-Star, a four-time All-NBA first-teamer and two-time All-NBA second-teamer as a Sixer. So yes, Barkley is my favorite Sixers power forward by a long shot.