It used to be a classic when Philadelphia and Boston faced off in the NBA, but the rivalry between the two teams doesn't seem that important anymore. It's still an important game, however, for a couple of reasons.
The Boston Celtics are still only 2.5 games behind the eighth seeded Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference, but on the other hand, they are only one game ahead of the Indiana Pacers who hold the 12th place and a handful more ping pong balls if the draft lottery was held today. Add that GM Danny Ainge might make some roster changes before the trade deadline, and the team could be moving in both directions, depending on whether he trades away veterans for assets, or he uses some of Boston's many assets to strengthen the team down the stretch.
For the 76ers, this season has been about development of their super young core, and they have definitely played better as of late. They are no longer the bottom feeders of the league, leading the Minnesota Timberwolves by one game and the New York Knicks by 0.5. So it's a close race at the bottom of the league.
Philadelphia can give debut to Tim Frazier who is on a 10-day contract. And that might be a bit strange for the D-League standout, since he was with the Celtics most of the summer before getting cut as the last player after training camp. After that, he was assigned to the Celtics' affiliate team, the Maine Red Claws and has played several games with Celtics rookie James Young. The Sixers might need Frazier's services tonight, since Tony Wroten is out for the season after having ACL surgery and starting point guard Michael Carter-Williams is a game-time decision with a sore right foot.
Boston has recalled Phil Pressey from a D-League assignment after an impressive performance for Maine last night with 34 points, seven rebounds, nine assists, and three steals. After a stint of DNP-CD's for the Celtics, he seems as ready as ever.
The Celtics will still be without Kelly Olynyk, while there is no news about Tayshaun Prince who has been declared day-to-day with a hip flexor.
One of the more interesting matchups in the game could be Boston's Jared Sullinger against Philadelphia's Nerlens Noel. Sullinger is bulkier and stronger, but Noel has the height advantage. Both are rebounding specialists, and this could be key to the game. Who prevents the other team from getting second chance points?
The Celtics won their two games in Philadelphia earlier this season, but Philadelphia had two away wins in Boston last season.
The Sixers have won three out of their last five games, and gave the Atlanta Hawks a run for their money on Saturday, so while the Celtics might be favorites for this game, they shouldn't take it lightly.