There may not be a better rivalry in the Eastern Conference right now than the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers. The two teams legitimately do not like one another, are built around young cores that should stick around for some time, and are going to fight for conference championships for the foreseeable future. Add in the historical dislike between the two teams — and, even more broadly, the two cities — and the fact that Celtics-Sixers is a big deal is a great thing for the league.
There is a bit of an issue, however: A rivalry usually implies that the two teams are, to some extent, even on the basketball court, but that hasn’t quite been the case lately. Since the start of last season, Boston is 8-2 against Philadelphia, including a five-game series victory in the 2018 Playoffs and a 105-87 win to kick off the season on Tuesday night.
This all led to Joel Embiid’s rather blunt analysis of the feud between the two teams. In his eyes, it can’t be a rivalry, because the Celtics have repeatedly given the Sixers the business.