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.

Pierce details mental-health struggles after stabbing

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Pierce details mental-health struggles after stabbing

Jackie MacMullan's deep-dive look at the mental health stigma in the NBA on Monday wasn't without a few Celtics anecdotes.

One of the biggest sections of the stories was former Celtic Paul Pierce talking about his struggles after he was stabbed outside a Boston night club in 2000.

"I was stabbed 11 times," Pierce tells ESPN. "I felt like I was trapped in a box. I couldn't go nowhere. I battled depression for a year. The only thing that saved me was basketball."

Pierce played all 82 games after surviving the incident, but that was also a product of his anxiety in the ensuing months.


"I think that's the reason I got back on the court so fast. Me sitting at home thinking about [the stabbing] didn't work. I went to every practice, sat on the sideline for hours, because that's where I felt safe. I didn't want those practices to end because then I had to go back out there in this world that really scared me."

The Celtics offered consulting with a mental health expert, and Pierce is quoted saying he wished he took the advice.

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge is quoted as well, saying "We can offer all the services in the world, but if they won't use them, we can't help them. Too many of these guys don't realize how badly they need help until it's too late."

The piece also follows Cavaliers center Kevin Love and his mental health struggles in the past year.


Anything is Podable Episode 6: The games behind-the-scenes

Anything is Podable Episode 6: The games behind-the-scenes

It’s hard not to be intense when Kevin Garnett is on your team. For the 07-08 Celtics, that fire extended beyond the court and into every waking moment they spent together.

Episode 6 of NBC Sports Boston’s “Anything is Podable” goes behind-the-scenes with the members of the world champion Celtics to get a never-before-heard glimpse into the games and competitions that brought them all closer together.

“Everything is about competition and we, as a staff, understood that early,” said Doc Rivers. “For practices, if there was no score, it was a bad practice. All you had to do was put a winner and a loser and the practice went from here to here. It was just that type of group.”

Whether it was on road trips, at practice, or in the weight room, everything about the team revolved around competition and an innate desire to win.

“Everything was competitive,” stated Rajon Rondo. “The boxing gloves came out in the weight room.”

As is the case with every great team, the bonding off the court was essential to finding success on it. Anything that could possibly be turned into a competition, was.

Arm wrestling? Check.

Push-upsYou bet.

On a road trip in Miami, Paul Pierce challenged Glen Davis to eat a large piece of bread in under one minute.

“Have you ever tried to eat a piece of bread like that?” Davis asked. “It gets dry. You can’t swallow it. It sounds easy, but people don’t know how dry bread is...I almost like choked and died.”

“You’re talking about a guy who loved to eat,” Pierce joked.

“I couldn’t do it,” Davis responded.

Competition off the court breeds competition on the court and, while the talent helped, little games like the ones played on road trips were vital to the Celtics achieving their ultimate goal.

Anything is Podable is a ten-part series diving into the story of the 2008 Celtics and their championship season, with exclusive, never-before-heard interviews with team executives, former players, and media members.

Narrated by Kyle Draper, it’s the perfect way for Celtics fans to pass time this offseason and get excited for 2018-19, a season in which the Celtics have as good a chance at raising their 18th championship banner as they’ve had since that magical 2008 season.

Fans can subscribe to the podcast through the link below and check out the other nine episodes for a look at this exclusive series.