Celtics

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.”

MORE:

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.

Bucks fans' chant suggests they're pretty excited to face Celtics

Bucks fans' chant suggests they're pretty excited to face Celtics

As the Milwaukee Bucks put the finishing touches on a first-round sweep, their fans were already looking ahead.

The Bucks officially set up a second-round NBA playoff series with the Boston Celtics by beating the Pistons in Detroit on Monday night. And before that game even finished, fans at a Game 4 watch party in Milwaukee had the C's on their minds.

This is a perfect revenge matchup for the Bucks after Boston ousted them in the first round last season. Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo admitted as much Monday night after his team's series-clinching win.

But here's a quick warning for Bucks fans: Be careful what you wish for. The Celtics are riding high off a first-round sweep of the Indiana Pacers, and the last time another fanbase expressed its desire to play a Boston team was New York Yankees fans ahead of the 2018 American League Division Series. And we all know how that ended.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Celtics to face Bucks in second round of the NBA playoffs

Celtics to face Bucks in second round of the NBA playoffs

To nobody's surprise, the Boston Celtics are going to play the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.

The Bucks, the East's No. 1 seed, had the best record in the NBA last season (60-22) and faced little resistance in their first-round matchup. They easily swept the Detroit Pistons in four games. The Pistons' star player, Blake Griffin, was far from healthy, and that played a role in the Bucks' series win.

This is the second year in a row that the Celtics will play the Bucks in the playoffs. Last year, the No. 2 seeded Celtics defeated the Bucks in a series that spanned seven games. The home team won every game in that series.

The Bucks will be a tough opponent for the Celtics. Potential league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is a matchup nightmare, and he averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game during the regular season. And around him, the Bucks have solid depth.

In their regular season series, the Celtics posted only a 1-2 record against the Bucks, winning their first meeting in November but coming up just short in their other two games. Antetokounmpo averaged 31 points per game against the Celtics, so slowing him down will be key to finding success in the series.

The Celtics will open on the road in this series, as the first two games will be in Milwaukee. The Celtics will have to ensure that they get off to a solid start and continue to fare well on the road, something they struggled to do last postseason (1-7 record in eight road games, 0-3 in Milwaukee).

BLAKELY: Celtics vs. Bucks playoff history>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.