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Brett Brown expecting ‘fist fight’ in second round vs. Celtics or Bucks

Joel Embiid, Brett Brown

The Philadelphia 76ers mustered a tough Game 5 win over the Miami Heat to close out the series, despite what the 104-91 final score might indicate.

Head coach Brett Brown is expecting yet another rugged series in his future, with their opponent potentially decided tonight as the Boston Celtics take on the Milwaukee Bucks on the road, up 3-2 in their first-round series.

“We got a fistfight coming again,” said Brown, according to Brian Seltzer of Sixers.com. “We’ve had a tremendous battle with Boston this whole season, and we’ve had some kind of erratic games with Milwaukee.”

The Sixers lost three of their four regular season games against the Celtics, decided by an average margin of 5.8 points.

Philly split this year’s four-game series against the Bucks, with each team defending their home court advantage. The most recent was a 130-95 torching by the Sixers in their regular season finale, which finished the 2017-18 campaign with a 16-game winning streak.

Coach Brown will yield from the team’s experience during past matchups, but won’t rest on his laurels, expecting his team to harness even better performances with more at stake in the playoffs.

“As I’ve said a lot the last few days, this group has more to give, this group has more to grow,” Brown told reporters Tuesday. “The longer we can buy time and continue playing, the longer Joel Embiid will get used to his mask and start playing basketball again… it all adds up into I think we’re going to get better. I really think we’re going to get better.”

Embiid had his highs and lows since returning from an orbital bone fracture that kept him out the last 10 games of the regular season and the first two of the postseason, forced to play with a mask to avoid re-injury.