Sixers-Celtics: Joel Embiid could key an upset

Sixers guard Ben Simmons putting up a shot against the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum during the teams’ October meeting.

Boston Celtics (33-10) at 76ers (19-19)

Thursday at 3 p.m., at The 02 Arena

Talking points

The Sixers will need a heavy dose of Joel Embiid to have a chance to win this game.

The center struggled from the field in the teams’ first meeting, a 102-92 Celtics victory Oct. 20. He missed their second meeting, a 108-97 Boston decision on Nov. 30, because of not playing on back-to-back nights.  The Celtics took advantage of his offensive problems in the first game and his absence in the second. Embiid had a game-high 14 rebounds and two blocks in the October meeting,  but made just 4 of 16 shots (0 for 6 on three-pointers) en route to 11 points.

How to watch and follow the game

Starting lineups

Celtics  (33-10)

0 Jayson Tatum SF 6-8 13.9 ppg 5.5 rpg.

42 Al Horford PF 6-10 13.4  ppg. 7.9 rpg.

46 Aron Baynes C 6-10 6.0  ppg. 5.3 rpg.

7 Jaylen Brown SG 6-7 14.1 ppg. 5.7 rpg.

11 Kyrie Irving PG 6-3 24.1 ppg. 5.0 apg.

Coach: Brad Stevens (fifth season, 199-172)

Injury report:  Gordon Hayward (left ankle rehab, out)

Sixers (19-19)

33 Robert Covington SF 6-9  13.9 ppg. 6.0 rpg

9 Dario Saric PF 6-10  13.6 ppg. 6.9  rpg.

21 Joel Embiid C 7-2 23.8 ppg. 10.9 rpg.

17 JJ Redick SG 6-4  17.3 ppg. 3.4 apg.

25 Ben Simmons PG 6-10 16.9 ppg. 7.5 apg.

Coach: Brett Brown (fifth season, 94-272)

Injury report: Markelle Fultz (right shoulder rehabilitation, out); Furkan Korkmaz (Lisfranc fracture, out).

Head to head

The Celtics have a 257-185 series lead after winning this season’s first two meetings.

Coming games

Monday: 1 p.m., at Wells Fargo Center, Toronto Raptors at Sixers

Jan. 18: 7 p.m., at TD Garden, Sixers at Celtics

Jan. 20: 7:30 p.m., at Wells Fargo Center, Milwaukee Bucks at Sixers

Jan. 22: 8 p.m., at FedEx Forum, Sixers at Memphis Grizzlies

Jan. 24: 7 p.m., at Wells Fargo Center, Chicago Bulls at Sixers