Celtics recognize bright future for Sixers rookie Joel Embiid

Celtics recognize bright future for Sixers rookie Joel Embiid

BOSTON – Avery Bradley and the rest of his Boston Celtics teammates take pride in being a good defensive team, one that can mix up its coverages to tilt, show or play straight-up man coverage.

But when dealing with Joel Embiid, Bradley only sees one course of action.

“He has everything,” said Bradley. “It’s almost like you’re going to have to double team him. You just gonna have to double-team him.”


The Celtics did that for various stretches on Friday night, and it proved to be just enough as Boston defeated Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers 116-110.

Embiid, who is still on a 25-minute limit, had 23 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots.

“I see some of the plays he makes,” Bradley added. “He’s way ahead of his time and he’s only going to get better. He’s a good kid and he works hard. The sky is the limit for him.”

Isaiah Thomas had similar words in describing the 7-foot center who can score off the dribble, from 3-point range and of course, around the basket.

“He’s talented; he’s gonna be special,” Thomas said. “He’s gonna be special. He has the right attitude; you can tell. He’s a workhorse. He’s unselfish. He’s a big body that can do it all.”

Well, almost do it all.

Following Philadelphia’s morning shoot-around, Embiid talked about wanting a defensive switch at some point where he was defending Isaiah Thomas.

Word got back to Thomas via social media, so the first chance Thomas had to go at Embiid he didn’t hesitate to do so.

The result was Thomas scoring while being fouled by Embiid.

After the play, the two shared a light-hearted moment that Thomas shared with the media following the game.

“Earlier in the day he said he was going to guard me on the switch,” Thomas said. “I just said, ‘nobody can stop me on no switch. Especially not your big ass!"

Thomas added, “he started laughing. I said, ‘I (saw) what you said earlier. I got you on one.’”

And that’s a good thing, because judging by the way he has dominated foes in limited minutes it’s just a matter of time before he becomes an even bigger force than he is right now.

“When he starts playing forty minutes, it’s gonna be very scary,” Bradley said.

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Reserve-heavy Celtics keep at it, top Trail Blazers

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Reserve-heavy Celtics keep at it, top Trail Blazers

1:13 - The Celtics came away with a 105-100 win in Portland on Friday night. Find out why Chris Mannix is calling this the best Celtics win of the season.

6:05 - Mannix discusses details about Kyrie Irving’s ‘minimally invasive’ procedure on his knee and what his level of concern is with A. Sherrod Blakely and Gary Tanguay.

10:03 - Michael Holley and Tom Curran discuss what NFL players, including Devin McCourty, are doing beyond the gridiron by being active in criminal justice reform discussions held at Harvard this week.



Morris getting it done for Celtics on both ends of the floor

Morris getting it done for Celtics on both ends of the floor

When you think about Marcus Morris these days, big-time scoring immediately comes to mind. 

But in Boston’s 105-100 comeback win over Portland, Morris’ contributions went beyond the game-high 30 points he dropped on the Blazers.

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“Coach (Brad Stevens) is doing a great job of getting me the ball in my spots and my teammates are finding me,” Morris told reporters after the win. “And I’m just coming through.”

He’s providing strong play and a tremendous presence at both ends of the floor which has been critical to the team navigating some choppy waters with a number of regular rotation players – namely Kyrie Irving – out with injuries.

“One thing is, he’s healthy,” said Boston’s Al Horford, referring to the sore knee that limited Morris earlier this season and at times forced him to miss games. “And the other is, he’s just more confident, he’s playing very assertive. He’s playing great right now, in a really good rhythm.”

Said Stevens: “That’s been him (Morris). As he’s continued to feel better; I think physically he’s felt as good as he’s felt. He’s comfortable in our system and we need him to score. If you’re a basketball player and your job is to score, that’s a pretty good job.”

And it’s one that even with all the injuries Boston has played through, few envisioned him being such an integral part of the offense. 

Morris’ calling card prior to arriving in Boston was his defense. 

But Morris has made it known that his focus on the floor is to be as complete a player as possible.

“I’m not trying to just limit myself to just being that scorer,” Morris said. “Also, on the defensive end I think I’m bringing it; my defense has gotten a lot better, especially my on-the-ball defense. I’m trying to be that all-around player and not just an offensive player … but I can score.”