Sixers

3 storylines to watch for 1st game of Sixers' mini-series vs. Celtics

Sixers

The 9-5 Sixers are back in Philadelphia and set to play the 8-4 Celtics on Wednesday night in the first contest of a two-game mini-series. 

It should be the Sixers’ first game since last Saturday after the team’s scheduled matchup Sunday against the Thunder was postponed because of COVID-19 contact tracing. 

Here are the essentials:

  • When: 7 p.m. with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:15 p.m. 
  • Where: Wells Fargo Center 
  • Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia 
  • Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the MyTeams app 

And here are three storylines to watch: 

Curry clears protocols, still out

Seth Curry has cleared the NBA's health and safety protocols. He missed the Sixers’ Jan 7 game against the Nets with left ankle soreness, and the team learned of Curry testing positive for COVID-19 during that game.

However, NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark reports that Curry won't play Wednesday night.

The 30-year-old guard didn’t practice Tuesday and, under the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, wasn’t allowed to exercise for at least 10 days. 

In his first eight games as a Sixer, Curry averaged 17.0 points and 3.6 assists, shooting 59.5 percent from three-point range. The Sixers were 7-1 before that Brooklyn game, with their opening-night starters sporting a plus-16.7 net rating in 294 non-garbage time possessions together, per Cleaning the Glass.

Celtics still missing a star 

After a week without games because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Celtics have blown out the Magic and lost by 30 points to the Knicks. The New York game was Kemba Walker’s first this season as he came back from a left knee injury to play 20 minutes, posting nine points on 3-for-13 shooting and four assists. 

 

Jayson Tatum, who reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 8, hasn’t yet been cleared to return. Center Robert Williams will be good to go Wednesday after also having tested positive, dropping the odds of an appearance by 7-foot-5 Tacko Fall. 

Tristan Thompson, Williams and Daniel Theis will likely be Boston’s primary options against Joel Embiid, who’s expected to play Wednesday after staying back in Philadelphia during the Sixers’ last road trip because of right knee pain. 

The Sixers have gone 0-3 this season without Embiid and will be happy to have him back. He was the Sixers’ lone reliable form of offense in the playoffs last season, averaging 30 points and drawing 14.8 free throws per game in Boston’s first-round sweep of the Sixers. 

Rookie guards square off 

Like Tyrese Maxey, Oregon product Payton Pritchard has made an early impact. The 26th pick in this year’s draft has averaged 8.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists. He also has 50/40/90 shooting splits and scored a game-winning put-back layup in the Celtics’ Jan. 6 win over the Heat.

Will Maxey, the 21st selection, start for the sixth consecutive game? He's shined in just about every way besides three-point shooting since entering the starting lineup on Jan. 9, posting 19.4 points. 4.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.