The Boston Celtics will attempt to use Friday night’s visit from the lowly Philadelphia 76ers to avoid their second-longest losing streak of the season.
The Celtics couldn’t beat the 76ers in the most recent matchup at TD Garden, but Philadelphia has earned just one win since that game in late January.
Boston’s sixth consecutive loss was also its most lopsided of the season, a 118-92 defeat in Washington on Wednesday. The Celtics (23-52) went 3 of 24 from 3-point range for their lowest percentage since an 0-for-8 performance in Philadelphia on March 7, 2012.
"You’ve got to put it in the past and just keep moving forward, and on to the next one," center Kelly Olynyk told the team’s official website.
Boston will now try to avoid its second losing streak of seven games or longer in 2013-14. It dropped a season-high nine in a row Dec. 31-Jan. 13.
Given how the 76ers have fared in the last two-plus months, the Celtics would appear to have a good chance to accomplish that task.
After winning 95-94 in Boston on Jan. 29, Philadelphia became the NBA’s second team to lose 26 in a row before blowing out Detroit 123-98 on Saturday. One of its losses during that record-tying streak was 114-108 at home to the Celtics on Feb. 5.
"I think Friday is another opportunity, and we just need to take advantage of it," Boston guard Jerryd Bayless said. "We have a winnable game on Friday and hopefully we’re able to pull it out and then go to Detroit on Saturday and win as well."
The 76ers (16-59) have lost their two games since beating Detroit and were routed 123-93 by visiting Charlotte on Wednesday. Massachusetts native Michael Carter-Williams was a bright spot for Philadelphia with 22 points on 10-of-18 shooting and seven rebounds.
"I’m excited to go back home. I should have some people there for me again," Carter-Williams said. "It’s just going to be great to be there and perform in front of my loved ones and my friends."
Although he missed 10 of 14 shots, Carter-Williams was one of five starters in double figures in the win in Boston in January. Two of Philadelphia’s leading scorers from that game, Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner, are now with other teams.
Jared Sullinger had 24 points and 17 rebounds for Boston in that loss, and he scored a team-best 25 points Wednesday. Jeff Green led the way with 36 points in the victory over Philadelphia in February.
Green is averaging 11.8 points – 4.8 fewer than his team-best mark – and shooting 34.0 percent in eight games since matching a season high with 39 points in New Orleans on March 16. He had 13 points and missed 10 of 13 shots Wednesday.
Thaddeus Young is averaging 19.3 points and shooting 51.5 percent in his last four games against Boston. He led seven players in double figures with 20 points in the loss in February.