There are all kinds of rivalries in sports. Sometimes you've got a pairing that competes due to history. Other times it's geography. Often you can get short-lived rivalries that go on while two teams have certain players or coaches that don't get along. Some rivalries are made up simply because the squads are battling for surpremacy. These examples all come with a level of bad blood and disdain, whether small or large.
When it comes to the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers, the rivalry is built by the fanbases. These are not the top two teams in their conference. No, this matchup is filled with stress and anxiety because the fans in Boston and Philadelphia have made it that way. We fight on Twitter, heckle eachother in the streets and argue over which team has the better young stars and the better chance at championship glory.
Jaylen Brown blowing kisses to the Sixers bench pic.twitter.com/EAoR9vRdcF— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) January 11, 2018
At the center of these Boston-Philly debates is one...ideal, I guess you could call it. There is one thing that stands for everything Philadelphia 76ers basketball has been for the past decade or so. It's called "The Process." If you haven't heard of "The Process" by now, the backstory is pretty simple. Philadelphia was one of the worst teams in the NBA during the early 2010's. They were downright abysmal. After the 2012-13 season, then-general manager Sam Hinkie decided to blow it all up and undergo a major rebuild. The Sixers would start tanking in an attempt to bottom out and get top draft picks each year. This was affectionately dubbed, "The Process."
Anyway, "The Process" has become a bit of a running joke in Boston. Despite the fact that Hinkie was able to turn the team into a contender over the years, they've had trouble getting over the hump and they've never quite lived up to the hype. We're now 7 years into this thing and whatever "Process" this is hasn't been completed. In fact, it's teetering on the edge of being blown up again.
The Sixers struggled during the 2019-2020 regular season and finished as the East's sixth seed despite having the talent to be a Top 2 or 3 team in the conference. They've spent big on busts like Al Horford and seen lockeroom issues bubble to the surface. Their two stars, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, are reportedly not getting along. Now, with Simmons out for the season due to an injury sustained during the bubble seeding games and Embiid hobbled, they face a tough reality. The Celtics are the better team and can send them packing in the first round. If that happens, it could kill "The Process."
Embiid sets a dirty screen on Marcus Smart and Marcus sends Embiid flying👀 pic.twitter.com/PNX8pl3ErV— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) March 21, 2019
I for one, am delighted by the idea of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown finally staking their claim as the definitive winners in this battle of young duos. I also love that they'll show Al Horford what kind of mistake he made by jumping ship. Best of all, a dominant and quick series could send Simmons or Embiid to another team, head coach Brett Brown packing and the fans of Philly into a total tailspin. Boston can drive the dagger through their collective heart.
Will the C's take advantage of the downtrodden Sixers? I think it's easier said then done, to be honest. Rivals usually don't go down easy and I'm thinking we're in for 5 or 6 hard-fought games. Boston will come out on top, but it's going to take all we've got against a desperate team that has their backs up against the wall. Time for tip-off.