Sixers’ Joel Embiid Reveals Honest Thoughts on Celtics’ NBA Finals Run

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid didn't hold back while discussing the Celtics' run.
May 3, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) and center Al Horford (42) defend against Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) in the first quarter during game two of the 2023 NBA playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
May 3, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) and center Al Horford (42) defend against Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) in the first quarter during game two of the 2023 NBA playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

As the Boston Celtics stared down an opportunity to win the 2024 NBA Finals with a sweep over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid was in Dallas to check out the action.

Roughly 20 minutes before the game tipped off, Embiid was a surprise guest on NBA Countdown, joining the hosts alongside Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George.

When asked about his feelings towards the Celtics as they looked to potentially close in on an NBA Finals victory, Embiid revealed his honest opinion as always.

“I can’t stand them,” said the Sixers center. “I can’t stand them, I hate Boston. Great city, great fans, obviously they got some great players, but it hurts me a lot. So, hopefully, this offseason we find a way to get better, add some pieces.”

Being that the Sixers and the Celtics are Atlantic Division rivals, it doesn’t come as a shock that a homegrown star for the Sixers doesn’t enjoy the idea of seeing the Celtics take home the championship trophy.

But Embiid has also been quite honest in the past about the Celtics, who have had the Sixers’ number since Embiid became the face of Philly’s hoops team.

Embiid and the Sixers have faced the Celtics in the postseason twice in the last four years. During their series in 2020, the Celtics dominated the 76ers with a sweep in the first round.

Last year, the two teams met in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and battled it out for the full seven games. Although the Sixers possessed a 3-2 lead in Game 6, they lost 95-86. When they paid a visit to Boston for Game 7, the Sixers didn’t have any answers for the Celtics.

After losing to Boston, allowing them to make a 2023 Eastern Conference Finals appearance, the Sixers watched the Celtics fall short to the Miami Heat, who went on to battle the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals.

This year, the Celtics dominated in the regular season, cruised to the Eastern Conference Finals again, and defeated the Indiana Pacers to punch their ticket to the 2024 NBA Finals. While they couldn’t seal the deal on Friday, dropping Game 4 on the road, the Celtics have a comfortable 3-1 lead over Dallas ahead of Game 5, which takes place on Monday.

Soon, Embiid and the Sixers could watch their rivals raise a championship banner.


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Justin Grasso

JUSTIN GRASSO

Title: Credentialed writer/reporter covering the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated’s FanNation Email: JustinGrasso32@Gmail.com Location: Philadelphia, PA Expertise: Reporting, insight, and analysis on the Sixers and the NBA  Justin Grasso is a credentialed writer and publisher covering the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated’s FanNation.  Grasso got his start in sports media in 2016 with FantasyPros, working the news desk, providing game-by-game player analysis and updates on the Portland Trail Blazers and the Golden State Warriors. By 2017, he joined FanSided’s Philadelphia Eagles site as a staff writer. After spending one season covering the Eagles as a staff writer, Grasso was promoted to become the site’s Co-Editor. For the next two NFL seasons, he covered the Eagles closely before broadening his NFL coverage. For a brief stint, Grasso covered the NFL on a national basis after joining Heavy.com as an NFL news desk writer. In 2019, Grasso joined the 76ers' beat on a part-time basis, stepping into a role with South Jersey’s 97.3 ESPN. Ahead of the 2019-2020 NBA season, he concluded a three-year stint covering the Eagles and joined the Sixers beat full-time. Grasso has covered the 76ers exclusively since then for Sports Illustrated. He is a member of the Pro Basketball Writer’s Association.  Twitter: @JGrasso_ Instagram: @JGrassoNBA