No Aron Baynes. (That’s more a positive for me and my sanity, though.)
When the game started, the question was who was going to get the Celtics started, offensively, with Kyrie Irving out. Would it be Jayson Tatum? Terry Rozier? Maybe Gordon Hayward?
Of course not, because it’s the Celtics, and that would make too much sense. As it turns out, it was Philadelphia-native Marcus Morris who got things going for the Celtics in the first quarter going 4/6 from the field for eight points and grabbing five rebounds in what seemed like the snap of a finger. Had everyone even sat down from getting refreshments before Morris did that?
Gordon Hayward had a decent first quarter, too, getting six points off two three pointers. Joel Embiid started things well for the Sixers with six points and three rebounds. As a team, the Sixers shot 8/19 from the field in the first quarter. Bad shooting aside (for whatever reason), the Sixers were only down by five after the first twelve minutes.
The second quarter was better from a defensive perspective. During one stretch, the Sixers got stops on six out of seven Celtics offensive possessions. The problem is they couldn’t capitalize. Jimmy Butler got things going in the second with a drive to the bucket to start the second and had a three-ball about a minute later in transition.
TJ McConnell – who gets much love or hatred depending on what lineup he’s in – had a strong second quarter with seven points and two assists. Sixers enemy #2 (in my book) Al Horford collected nine points in the second quarter, and Jayson Tatum added eight more. Going into the half, the Sixers were down by six.
In his pre-game press conference, Brett Brown said that the Celtics win by turning you over and hunting threes. (Checks first half box score.) Yup, the Sixers had ten turnovers, and the Celtics were 6-14 from three. Seems like Brett knew what he was talking about.
There was still hope, right?
One would think so since the Sixers started the third quarter going on a 16-4 run capped by a JJ Redick three pointer gave the home squad a ten-point lead. Then, the Sixers went without a field goal for four minutes to close out that quarter. Hayward had nine points in that last half of the third, and Horford hit two three pointers to close the quarter.
Things in the fourth quarter got interesting when Embiid had eight of the Sixers first 14 points in the quarter even though Boston began the final 12 minutes hitting seven of their first eight field goals. Jimmy Butler hit two of three field goals after being fouled on a three-point attempt to tie the game at 94, but Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier hit back-to-back threes for another six-point Celtics lead with 5:18 left.
Embiid tied the game at 102 on a feed from Tobias Harris. The big man finished with 15 in the fourth quarter, but Hayward was cashing threes like checks at TD Bank. He hit three more in the final quarter and finished with 26 points in 28 minutes hitting six of seven three pointers. Hayward and Horford finished with 49 points (17-27 from the field), 21 rebounds, eight assists, and five steals.
Ben Simmons finished with 16/5/5 to go with Embiid’s 23 and 14 rebounds. Jimmy Butler had 22 points. Redick finished with 16, and Tobias Harris rounded out the starting five with 10 points. (It would have been pleasant if Harris didn’t go 0-6 from three, however.)
This giant green monkey on our back is getting a little tiresome.
Can we do something about this, please?