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3 Reasons the 76ers Flipped the Script and Own the Celtics This Season

Al Horford, Marcus Smart
76ers forward Al Horford owns Celtics now | Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

With Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James in the Western Conference, the time was right for both the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers to pounce and claim the Eastern Conference as their own.

The 76ers have had the early advantage over their rival from Bean Town, as evidenced by Thursday's 109-98 win, notching a 3-0 series lead this season. It's a complete flip of the switch, and here are three ways Philadelphia accomplished that.

3. Acquiring Josh Richardson in Miami Sign-and-Trade

Josh Richardson
Losing Jimmy Butler got the 76ers Josh Richardson, who's been a star for the team. | Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The 76ers faced quite the dilemma this summer. Jimmy Butler had no intent to remain in Philadelphia, so the 76ers front office decided to flip him to the Miami Heat in a sign-and-trade. That deal netted the Sixers Josh Richardson, and he's been a stud since joining his new squad. Averaging 15 points-per-game entering Thursday night, Richardson threw up 29 points, seven assists, and three rebounds against the Celtics. Philadelphia's savvy front office are why they're better than Boston currently.

2. Depth

Furkan Korkmaz, Kemba Walker
The 76ers are scoring points off the bench, due to their plethora of depth. | Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

When looking at the 76ers, they have a deeper roster than that of the Celtics. Names like Mike Scott, Matisse Thybulle, and Furkan Korkmaz are putting up points, and they aren't even starters. Meanwhile on Boston, there's no scoring behind Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum. This is why the 76ers have the 3-0 series advantage this season.

1. Stealing Al Horford

Jayson Tatum, Al Horford
The 76ers stealing Al Horford from underneath the Celtics paid dividends. | Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

The biggest and smartest move for the 76ers was stealing Al Horford from under the noses of the Celtics. Horford, who declined to take Boston's $30 million player option, decided to sign with the 76ers on a four-year, $109 million contract. That move has haunted the Celtics ever since, and it showed on Thursday. Horford tallied 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and two blocks. He's a piece that the Celtics desperately miss, and it only burns them more by seeing him wear their heated rival's uniform.