The Sixers stumbled on Tuesday night, losing 105-87 in their opening game of the season in Boston. The Celtics looked like the Eastern Conference favorites they've been pegged all offseason after welcoming back all-stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, even though it was second-year stud Jason Tatum, who led the way with a team-high 23 points in the win. Despite the tough loss, Tatum's offseason workout partner, Joel Embiid, continued to be a beat reporter's dream with his post-game comments.
When asked what Philly had to do in order to match the Celtics in their burgeoning rivalry, Embiid—who led his team with 23 points, 10 rebounds, and one near-block (he blocked it into the bucket) that Twitter enjoyed—dismissed the entire basis of the question.
"This is not a rivalry," he said. "I don’t know our record against them. But it’s pretty bad. They always kick our ass. So this is not a rivalry." You can listen to his rivalry lament and acknowledgement of Jason Tatum's wink after knocking down a shot over him in the video below:
JoJo isn't wrong. The Celtics and Sixers are a misdiagnosed rivalry, even if they're considered two of the top teams in the East this season. Not counting last season's 4-1 loss in the Eastern semifinal round of the playoffs, the Sixers are 2-14 against the Celtics since the beginning of the 2014-15 season. That's no rivalry. And with Jaylen Brown, Tatum, a still-improving Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, and Kyrie Irving as a luxury with Marcus Smart, Marcus Morris, and Six Man of the Year favorite Terry Rozier helming the second unit, the Celtics are just going to keep getting better. They've also got Philly's draft pick (or Sacramento's pick, whichever is better), after trading down to secure Tatum with the No. 3 pick in the 2017 Draft.
The player who went No. 1 to Philly that summer? Markelle Fultz, who was 2-for-7 for five points and three turnovers in 24 minutes of action Tuesday night. Feel free to tweet that last part because Bryan Colangelo's burner account won't have a comeback.