The Philadelphia 76ers went into Boston on Friday night with no Joel Embiid (illness), no Tyrese Maxey (illness), and they almost pulled off the upset of the year. The Celtics pulled away late to defeat the Sixers 125-119, remaining undefeated at home on the season.
Tensions were high all night at the TD Garden with plenty of pushing, shoving, and fouls to go around. But the Sixers showed resilience against all odds. It was understood going into the day that Embiid would not suit up for the second consecutive night. But just before tip, we all learned that Maxey would be out as well due to the same illness that got Embiid.
Losing the two top scorers meant more playing time for guys off the bench. It also meant more production would be necessary to contend with the favorites to win the NBA title this season, especially at their house where they hadn't lost a game.
Although that stat still remains true and the Sixers did drop their second game in a row and fourth of their last six, it was not due to a lack of effort. In this game, three players stood out to me that directly contributed to the Sixers competing in a game they were never supposed to be in in the first place.