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Are the Sixers ready for season opener vs. Boston Celtics?

The Sixers completed their 2018 preseason schedule at the Universiade Sports Centre in Shenzhen with a 115-112 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Joel Embiid paced the Sixers with 29 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals in 28 minutes of play. Mike Muscala got the start over Dario Saric, who sat out to rest his back.

The key in preseason is to learn as much, and as quickly as possible to prepare for the 82 game regular season. The team will open the 2018-19 campaign on the road in the unfriendly confides of the TD Bank Garden against Boston on October 16th.

The road the Sixers are about to embark upon is far from a quick preseason sprint. Over the next six months, the franchise will be continuously tested on a nightly basis. The things we see and learn in the preseason are minuscule in comparison to what is awaiting on the horizon.

The team has to put their minds toward games that matter, and focus on the Boston Celtics, who are at full strength now that Kyrie Irving, and Gordon Hayward have returned from injury. The Celtics will be an excellent early test for Philadelphia as they try to accomplish their lofty team goal of making an NBA Finals appearance.

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The Sixers’ old Eastern Conference foe is an excellent measuring stick, as they work to become a contender and NBA powerhouse. Head coach Brett Brown will eventually get the rotations set, and the players will have to hold themselves and each other accountable. The team will have to limit turnovers and miscues, as Ben Simmons committed seven against Dallas on Monday, and Markelle Fultz fouled out with 6 points and 4 turnovers in 19 minutes of action.

The early part of the season will continue to serve as a learning curve, then the team should begin to gel and execute on all cylinders during the holidays. The Sixers have potential, however they do not have much time as their nemesis to the north looks to get back to the conference final, and beyond.

Anthony Gilbert covers the Sixers for Follow him on Twitter at @axgilbert.

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