Celtics-76ers preview: Irving and Fultz face off in Philly


Celtics-76ers preview: Irving and Fultz face off in Philly

BOSTON – For years Kyrie Irving was the ridiculously talented youngster, a basketball savant with the ball whose basketball handles were straight out of some video game’s cheat code.

And these days, the young man on the come-up, Irving, is now the target of just about every point guard coming into the NBA.

Philadelphia’s Markelle Fultz is the latest up-and-coming point guard who will put their skills to the test against Irving, the 25-year-old point guard who ranks among the most decorated players in the league.

“It’s fun,” Irving told NBC Sports Boston. “It comes in cycles in this league. That’s the luxury of being a basketball fan. You get to see generations of guys come in.”

And with each generation, there’s that fine line that exists between potential to be great and the reality that it won’t happen nearly as quickly as the player – or the team that drafted him – wants. 

When I asked Irving about the one piece of advice he would give a young player coming into the NBA, he said that’s easy. 

“For a young guy, you just have to stay patient,” Irving said. “Understand you have other guys in this league that have been through what you’ve been through. We’re one phone call away. Although we’re competitive M-Fers, I love offering help to as many young guys as I can, and just knowing the intent is to help them out.”




Time: 7 p.m.


TV: NBC Sports Boston


Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub



Key matchup: Boston’s Kyrie Irving vs Markelle Fultz


First round picks of the past (Irving) and present (Fultz) will duel it out tonight for at least a quarter of play. Irving looked rusty in his debut earlier this week with the Celtics (9 points, 4-for-11 shooting), so a better game seems likely. As for Fultz, he made his first shot in Philadelphia’s preseason opener against Memphis. But things just got progressively worse before he finished with a not-so-great 4 points on 2-for-13 shooting. Irving has been schooling his Celtics teammates most of the preseason, and Fultz will likely get similar treatment tonight. 


Key Storyline: Joel Embiid’s health


He resumed 5-on-5 basketball for the Sixers on Thursday, the first time he has done that since he had season-ending surgery on his left knee back in March. With that said, look for Embiid to see some preseason action as a tune-up for Philly’s regular season opener at Washington on Oct. 18. Ben Simmons had a strong first game (six points, seven rebounds, nine assists with one turnover) for the Sixers, but they need Embiid desperately to get back on the floor and play if they are to come anywhere close to reaching their full potential.




“I gotta be the tough guy on the team, the protector. Knocking my guys down, I can’t have that. It’s gonna be my role to be the bully and I accept it.” – Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris.

NBCSB Breakfast pod: How Jayson Tatum compares to Paul Pierce

NBC Sports Illustration

NBCSB Breakfast pod: How Jayson Tatum compares to Paul Pierce

1:25 - With half of the Celtics roster on the shelf, we’ve been able to see just how great a scorer Jayson Tatum can be. A. Sherrod Blakely, Mike Girardi and Trenni Kusnierek discuss how Tatum compares to Celtics legend, Paul Pierce.

5:35 - The NFL Competition Committee is giving it their best shot at modifying the ‘catch rule’ and Tom Curran, Kyle Draper and Hardy try to wrap their heads around the proposed changes.

11:02 - The Bruins clinched a playoff berth despite losing to the St. Louis Blues in overtime. Joe Haggerty joins Tom Giles to break down the game, which included another goal by Ryan Donato and a questionable call on a high hit on David Krejci.

Report: Kyrie Irving to undergo knee exam Thursday


Report: Kyrie Irving to undergo knee exam Thursday

The second opinion on Kyrie Irving’s sore left knee will be done on Thursday, according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett.

Irving, who has missed the last four games, is expected to decide between having a surgical procedure performed to help alleviate some of the soreness, or continue to manage it with rest.


During the 2015 NBA Finals, Irving suffered a fractured left kneecap injury which was the beginning of Irving’s left knee issues.

While Irving has had soreness of some form during various stretches of play this season, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen him making progress recently.

“That knee is still sore,” Stevens said. “He’s worked really hard to manage it throughout the entire season. He’s had some pretty good days recently. I’m encouraged by the big picture.”

But Stevens has made it clear that he supports Irving getting a second opinion, adding that Irving’s absence is due to the knee being too sore for him to play at a level he’s accustomed to.

“He’s out because of knee soreness, not because we’re choosing to rest him,” Stevens said. “That’s the bottom line. Again, we want him to feel 110 percent. He wants to feel 110 percent. Obviously, we’re fortunate we created a cushion early on in the year with playoffs and everything else. This is not one of those situations where we’re choosing to rest someone; it’s because he has a sore knee.”