There will be unique performances, rousing introductions, celebrity sightings and much more.
You can expect a little bit of everything during the start as the Sixers tip off Thursday against the Boston Celtics at London’s O2 Arena.
And while there will be plenty of scenes to soak up at the outset of the matchup, things will likely come down to the very end on the court.
In the two prior Sixers-Celtics meetings this season, the games have been decided in the fourth quarter. Boston has won that battle — and the game — in both instances.
“It's go time, man,” Kyrie Irving said of his mindset in the fourth quarter after the Celtics’ 108-97 win over the Sixers on Nov. 30. “Especially when the game is in the balance. It's the best time to play. It's just ultimate freedom.”
That’s a freedom that apparently hasn’t been extended to the Sixers’ side.
The Sixers were outscored 32-26 by the C’s during the final frame of that loss on Nov. 30 and a whopping 33-20 in the fourth quarter of a 102-92 defeat in their home opener back on Oct. 20.
Outside of missing Joel Embiid in the most recent clash, the normal problems plagued the Sixers in those troublesome fourth periods — missed shots and turnovers. They shot a combined 38.4 percent and committed nine total turnovers in the two fourth quarters against the Celtics this season.
That falls in line with the Sixers’ inability to finish games for most of the season … until now. The team has won four straight and found what it hopes is a closer in rookie sensation Ben Simmons.
“It’s always stuff that keeps coaches up at night,” head coach Brett Brown said of finishing games after the Sixers’ 123-110 win over the Phoenix Suns on New Year’s Eve. “We spend countless hours, like all coaching staffs do, on figuring out the best way to close out a game — offensively, defensively.”
We'll see if the Sixers have benefited from any of that homework when the clock starts ticking down in London.