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Celtics coach Brad Stevens believes Sixers ‘look more comfortable’ now compared to last meeting

The last time the Philadelphia 76ers played the Boston Celtics on Feb. 12, they were playing just their third game with their current starting five after the acquisition of Tobias Harris.

Despite not having Kyrie Irving, the Celtics defeated the Sixers 112-109, forcing Harris into just 4-14 from the field, including 0 of 6 from three-point land.

But Boston head coach Brad Stevens understands that the Sixers are a different team from the last time these two met over a month ago. In fact, since that loss to the Celtics, the Sixers have not been defeated when Harris, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler and J.J. Redick are all available.

Stevens spoke to NBA.com reporter Taylor Snow about Philly’s adjustments during the pre-game:

“They just look more comfortable within the whole group,” Stevens said of the Sixers, who have won five straight entering Wednesday night. “You can tell there’s a lot more action for Jimmy and Tobias, and credit them because they’ve really figured out how to make that all work – that’s a heck of a group. I mean how often do you play against a starting five where everybody averaging 18 or more? It’s an excellent group, they’re hard to play against and you’ve gotta be really, really on your toes on both ends of the floor.”

Butler in particular seems to have become more adjusted to his role as a primary ball-handler and distributor, and is averaging 24 points and better than six assists and five rebounds in Philly’s last three games.

The Sixers have opened up a three-game advantage over the Celtics (2.5 games ahead of the Indiana Pacers) for the third spot in the Eastern conference, but Boston will look to gain ground tonight.