Final Score: Celtics 105, 76ers 87
- The 76ers need for the establishment of a “third man” in their offense was glaringly evident throughout this game, as the offense relied on Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid for most of the night. Markelle Fultz (5 points), Dario Saric (6 points), and Robert Convington (8 points) took turns trying to create a role for themselves, but struggled. Each of these players did generally well making plays off the ball, but none of them gave Philadelphia a third scoring option. J.J. Redick provided a major spark off the bench with 16 points, and played more minutes than Fultz or Saric, but the team still needed more in the points department.
- Turnovers plagued the team, especially in the first half. The team kept finding themselves back in the thick of things, only to turn the ball over and keep the momentum with the Celtics. Embiid led the team with five turnovers, and the rest of the starters had a handful as well. The 76ers can get away with having a legitimate third option most nights if they play clean basketball, but combining sloppy play with unreliable scorers calls for a woeful offense.
- Ben Simmons continues to show why he is a rising superstar and a dominant force in the league. While the 2nd year player did display some of the issues that held his potential back last year, he made plays for others and kept the 76ers in the game till late with his court vision and athleticism. He was two assists away from opening the season with a triple double, further showing what he brings to the table aside from scoring.
Philadelphia’s Play of the Game: With 3:34 left in the second quarter, Ben Simmons intercepted a bad pass from Jaylen Brown. Traveling down the court with Joel Embiid, he drove to the basket- but passed to the pursuing center through his legs without looking, for a dunk that got the 76ers within two.
- The Celtics showed how dangerous the team can be against a legitimate 76ers defense tonight. With Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward trying to find their stride, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford made plays throughout the first half to keep the team going. Horford stayed aggressive to the basket throughout, and while he doesn’t jump out on the box score, provided a presence in the paint that challenged the Philadelphia offense and took away a big part of their game. Tatum used his speed and shooting to keep the defense on its heels as well as providing a force on the boards. Both players aren’t even the top couple of options in their offense and still willed a team through a sloppy half, and that is just one of the reasons the Celtics will be the team to beat in the East.
- Boston’s bench brings such an attitude and swagger to the team. Many of those bench players had a key role in pushing the Eastern Conference Finals to seven against one of the greatest players ever. Marcus Morris brings the chance for high-scoring, Marcus Smart showcases grit and physicality, Terry Rozier runs the offense with next-level speed, and Aron Baynes contributes a strong force on the board. On those nights the starters struggle or need a spark, the Boston bench should bring a presence that elevates the team to the next level.
- Playing at home provides such an advantage for the Celtics. That home crowd is like no other, getting loud with every big play or scoring run. The noise generated in that stadium is notorious for shaking up opposing teams, whether throwing off free throws or reducing the ability to communicate for the offense. When the crowd alone can disrupt a team’s performance, and the home team themselves are extremely dangerous, beating the Celtics at TD Garden becomes that much more of a daunting task.
Boston’s Play of the Game: 5:30 into the fourth quarter, with Philadelphia trying to get themselves back into the game, Jaylen Brown sped across the court and threw down a slam dunk on Joel Embiid. The crowd exploded as the 76ers center fell onto the court, and Brown pushed the Boston lead to 15.
- Celtics: @ Toronto Raptors, 10/19
- 76ers: vs Chicago Bulls, 10/18