The 76ers took the Celtics to overtime on Christmas Day, but Joel Embiid reiterated the two teams are not rivals after another Philly defeat.
The All-Star center said after the Celtics opened the season with a 105-87 victory over the 76ers that the matchup was too one-sided to be considered a rivalry.
On Tuesday, Philadelphia opened up a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter at TD Garden, but Kyrie Irving forced overtime during which he hit successive 3-pointers as part of his 40-point effort to bring Boston from behind to win.
The 76ers have won just three of their last 23 games against the Celtics, and Embiid continues to insist that his team must improve if it is to be considered on a par with Boston.
We topped off Christmas Day with a 121-114 victory over the Sixers, thanks to a 40-point effort from Kyrie Irving. pic.twitter.com/ULQnyYv8od
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 26, 2018
“We lost again. Like I said at the beginning of the season, I don’t know what a rivalry is. I think I do, but this is clear as day, this is no rivalry,” said Embiid, who had 34 points and 16 rebounds.
“Just got to come back, we play them at home, so we’ve got to get the win over there.”
Embiid has not hid his frustration with his role in the offense since Philadelphia traded for Jimmy Butler, and he again expressed his dissatisfaction on Tuesday.
He said: “It felt different [to the first match]. I felt the game went well.
“I felt like I could’ve done more. I didn’t get the ball, or the ball didn’t find me, in the fourth and in overtime. In those situations I’ve got to show up.
“I’ve got to be put in the right situations to help them team and I felt like I wasn’t in the right situations, so I felt like I could’ve done more. We lost, but I put this heavily on me, because I know I could’ve done more.”
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) December 26, 2018
Coach Brett Brown was frustrated the 76ers could not hold on for the win in the fourth quarter but intends to point to the game heavily ahead of a potential playoff run.
“I was happy that we got our best players the ball,” he said. “What we did with at the end, I give them credit, we have to react better to them standing us up and doing so off-ball switching. They put us in a lot of late-clock situations.
“In that environment all I think about is 92-92, three minutes left, Game 6, what are you going to do? If that were the case tonight, we’d be in trouble.
“The good news is it’s December 25th and this conversation can’t be had in late April, early May. We’ve got lots to work on.
“This will be a tremendous reference point for me as a coach, to remind them and show them and teach them different things.
“It’s no mystery who we want to play through and how we want to do that, we know it’s evolving, but reacting to defensive pressure and those type of things, we’ll walk away a little bit smarter after we all sit down and watch some tape.”