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Despite Game 1 loss, 76ers center Joel Embiid hopes Celtics continue same defensive game plan

BOSTON -- The Philadelphia 76ers' offense changed a bit during Joel Embiid's three-week absence due to injury. The All-Star center said Wednesday that he's getting acclimated to those changes. But if there's something he feels very comfortable doing at the moment, it's playing against single coverage.

Embiid on Wednesday said that he feels he's "unstoppable" against a single defender.

The remark came in response to a reporter's question about his success in the third quarter of the Sixers' Game 1 loss to the Boston Celtics. Embiid scored 11 of his 31 points in the period, missing just one of his five shot attempts.

"They wanted to guard me one-on-one and I feel like I'm unstoppable," Embiid said. "So I just have to take advantage of it."

Embiid's words may stand out to some, but the 24-year-old has consistently expressed confidence in himself and his team throughout the season.

That season is at a bit of a crossroads now.

A Sixers loss in Game 2 of their series against the Celtics would put them in an 0-2 hole. Teams that lose the first two games of a best-of-seven series on the road have won just 6 percent of those series (15-236), according to the NBA.

The young Sixers have expressed confidence that Game 2 will be more competitive than their 16-point loss in Game 1, in part because of the way they plan to defend.

"It starts on the defensive end," Embiid said. "Like I said the other night, considering what I've done in the past, I was really bad [in Game 1]. And there's a lot of stuff I can correct."

The Celtics shot 49 percent from beyond the arc in Game 1, one of the key factors in their 16-point win. Sixers coach Brett Brown said he doesn't plan to make significant changes to the game plan.

"By and large, we're going to stick to the very large majority of what we did, just try to do it better," Brown said after Wednesday's practice.

Brown felt that the Sixers' six-day layoff between the end of the first round and the beginning of the second round impacted them in Game 1.

"Not playing for a while hurt us," the coach said. "And it's not to take away one thing from a hot, committed, Celtic team. But I do feel that. ... You lose an edge."

One thing that may be trending in the right direction for the Sixers? Embiid's comfort level with the offense.

When Embiid was out for three weeks with an orbital fracture and concussion, opposing coaches say the Sixers played with a slight increase in pace and were more perimeter-oriented, which is to be expected.

"Before I got hurt, [the offense featured] a lot of posting up and I was getting the ball a lot on the block then. Without me, they had to find a way to score. And they found a way, which is really effective," Embiid said. "I just had to get used to the offense. And I feel every day I'm getting used to the offense, finding my spots on the floor, where I should be in the new offense, and it's working pretty well."

For the past two days, Embiid and his teammates have credited Boston for doing nearly everything right in its Game 1 win. But the Sixers are also confident that they can bounce back in Game 2.

"We've got a special team, we've got a pretty good chance," Embiid said. "So it's just on us to go out and keep playing the same way we've been playing."