3:26 p.m.: Nobody in Philly seems particularly optimistic about Bynum suiting up this season.
Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer joined the chorus on Tuesday with a revealing column on the big man, who seems even farther from playing for the Sixers — ever — after saying last week that he would not play with pain. Sixers beat reporters found this little detail, uh, interesting.
In other words, do not worry about Kevin Garnett having to bang down low with Bynum in this one, or in any game, honestly, for quite some time.
8 a.m. ET: As the Celtics brought an end to their three-day break on Monday, they talked about this being the stretch run. If they intend to make another late-season push and make noise in the playoffs, they must start now.
Their quest begins in one of the key locations of last year’s run. Philadelphia, home of the struggling 76ers (23-35), will welcome the Celtics (31-27) in a showdown of two teams who have reacted very differently to major injuries to their stars. The Celtics have bounced back in a big way from the loss of Rajon Rondo, winning 11 of 15 games since the point guard went down with a torn right ACL. The Sixers started off valiantly without Andrew Bynum, the hobbled center who came over from Los Angeles in an offseason trade, but they have faded back and now have little realistic chance of making the playoffs.
Having won two straight, the Celtics are beginning a key stretch. Four of their next six games are on the road, with three straight challenging foes in Indiana, Atlanta and Oklahoma City to follow. That makes this game doubly important, as a loss could mean the start of a long drought.
Join us for updates and analysis during the game, which tips off at 7 p.m. ET.