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.”
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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.