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Sixers drop second straight with flat loss to Celtics

The Sixers looked like a tired and shorthanded team while suffering their second straight loss.

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Nic Batum and Kelly Oubre Jr. cannot get well soon enough.

The Sixers dropped their second game in a row 117-107 to the Boston Celtics Wednesday night. Tyrese Maxey led the Sixers with what felt like a very quiet x points, with three rebounds and five assists.

Joel Embiid had another disappointing fourth quarter, also going for 20 points, shooting 8-of-16 from the floor while Jayson Tatum led all scorers with 29.

Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.

First Quarter

  • Both offenses shot the ball well to start the game. The Sixers’ offense got some good looks off simple drive and kicks. Robert Covington was especially active early, with eight early points all coming from inside the three-point line.
  • The Sixers ability to create shots vanished when Maxey went to the bench. They went over five minutes without a field goal. It is just so easy for good defenses like Boston to swarm Embiid when he’s playing with the end of the bench.
  • While Philly’s good shooting start ended halfway through the quarter, the Celtics continued to shoot the ball well. Jrue Holiday grabbed a steal and laid it up to cap off a 20-4 run for Boston late in the quarter. Holiday led all scorers with 10, as the Celtics led by 15 after the first.

Second Quarter

  • Jaden Springer got another crack at it with the team being down two wings. He knocked down a corner three and stole the inbound pass for a dunk. In related news Marcus Morris Sr. should not see the floor again.
  • The second unit had a really good outing defensively, thanks in large part to Paul Reed, Springer and Covington. Covington was credited with two steals in the half and had several deflections, and this time it was Boston who had a four minute field goal draught, allowing the Sixers to chip away.
  • The second unit made it a seven-point game when Embiid checked back in, and the starters were able to keep the momentum going. Tobias Harris had a nice stretch where he hit an and-one to put the Sixers back in front. He led the team with 12 as they somehow led by one at the break.

Third Quarter

  • De’Anthony Melton is definitely asked to do more ball handling than he’s capable of, but he’s got to have a better feel for driving to the basket. He seems to have one or two layup attempts a game that everyone knows is getting blocked before he even picks up his dribble. At least his three-balls are finally starting to fall.
  • Al Horford came into tonight shooting 23% from three. So it’s only fitting that he was feeling it from outside tonight. Through three quarters he was 3-of-6 from downtown, more than he’s made in any other game this season. He really has made a career out of making the Sixers miserable.
  • It is just so obvious that Morris is cooked. It was surprising to see him out there in the second half given how well Springer did with the minutes he was given. Springer also was out there in the second half over Furkan Korkmaz and Danuel House Jr. For as little as House and Korkmaz have done this year, they’re almost definitely better options than Morris as well.
  • It was a rough end of the quarter for the Sixers elder statesmen. Patrick Beverly missed both free throws and a corner three on the ensuing possession which made the crowd very angsty. He had 0 points, shooting 0-of-4 through three quarters, as Boston crawled back to an eight-point lead heading to the final quarter.

Fourth Quarter

  • At least Nurse stuck with Springer as well. He had another another highlight play when he stripped Jayson Tatum and finished the fast-break with a reverse dunk.
  • It appears that Paul Reed has settled into things after a rough start to the season. He seems to give his best minutes towards the end of his shifts. Tonight he finished with 10 points, six rebounds including three on the offensive side, two assists and a block. The Celtics lead was down to two when Embiid checked back into the game.
  • For the second straight game, Embiid was really bad down the stretch. He lost the ball in a double team and fouled Tatum trying to get the chase-down block, giving him an and-one. Maxey got stuffed at the rim and Derrick White came down and buried a three. It was that stretch that did the Sixers in tonight.
  • Speaking of Derrick White, he was an absolute steal for the Celtics and has killed the Sixers ever since. Tonight was no different. He shot 7-of-12 from the field and put up 27 points along with five assists and two steals.
  • The Sixers next stop is Atlanta for some more In-Season Tournament action. They’ll take on the Hawks Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET for their third game of group play.

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