Sixers gear up for Celtics crowd after ‘half-empty’ arena in Miami

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Philadelphia 76ers expect a challenging atmosphere in Boston for Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Celtics.

“It’s as loud as it gets for the playoffs,” veteran JJ Redick said Sunday.

That’s something that at least one Sixer acknowledged wasn’t the case in the team’s first-round series against the Miami Heat.

“When we were in Miami … the gym was half-empty,” Sixers reserve Ersan Ilyasova said after the team’s practice. “But when you go to Boston, you will feel it. Even in the regular season, you know when you play that team, the arena is full, and they’re really committed fans.”

Redick, who has played in 12 postseasons, said the playoff games he played in Boston while with the Orlando Magic “were as intense of any playoff games I’ve played in my career.”

The Sixers won both road games of their first-round series against the Heat, whose home arena is known as one of the tamer atmospheres in the league. Philadelphia will face a different challenge in Boston, where the club needs to win at least one game to advance past the No. 2 seed Celtics.

“It’s always tough to play at their place,” Ilyasova said. “It’s always crowded, and we have to come up with a lot of energy and edge to win the game.”

In addition to the raucous crowd in Boston, the young…