The Boston Celtics fell once again in Philadelphia this evening. The 76ers took care of Boston in a 122-110 victory, capping off their two-game series. Both teams had their ups and downs, but the 76ers took care of business, scoring 73 points in the second half to win this game.
The 76ers once again played a very good game against a Celtics team deeply missing Jayson Tatum. They were led once again by Joel Embiid, who put up a 38-10 performance. Tobias Harris again was second in scoring with 23. Seth Curry, playing his first game in 16 days after contracting COVID-19, finished with 18 points. Possibly the best feature of the 76ers’ game was their accuracy when shooting. They shot an impressive 55.6% from the field, being very smart and accurate with their shot selection. While this was a relatively close game for most of the first three quarters, the end of the third quarter gave the 76ers the momentum they needed. Led by a rotation of Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz, Tobias Harris, and Dwight Howard, they pushed the Celtics’ defense on their heels, extending their lead to 11 at the end of the third quarter.
The Celtics inevitably came back toward the midway point of the fourth quarter, but that was when the 76ers got what they have wanted to see for so long. Ben Simmons took over, scoring 11 of his 15 in the final five minutes. He attacked the rim with confidence, which was a gratifying sight for 76ers fans to see, considering he hadn’t done that much this season. He either scored or assisted on every point of the 76ers’ crucial 11-3 turn starting at the five-minute mark. At this point, the Celtics were not able to come back, and the 76ers completed the two-game series sweep.
This game was a gritty one for Boston. They certainly did well on some fronts, but in the end, the 76ers were too much to handle for a Jayson Tatum-less Celtics team. Jaylen Brown continues to play at an All-Star rate, tying his season and career-high with 42 points tonight. Marcus Smart, for the second night in a row, continues to step up on the offensive end, scoring 20 plus 7 assists. Kemba Walker, in his third game back, had his second 19-point performance in a row, as he always seems to have success against Philadelphia. He was given more minutes tonight, but it’s clear that he is on the right track to return to normal minutes soon. Besides these three, no other Celtics scored in double figures, which certainly was a factor in their loss.
The Celtics’ first big setback in this game was losing Payton Pritchard early due to a hit from a falling Jaylen Brown. His knee sprain caused him to leave the game early in the first half, forcing Jeff Teague to step up and score more than he was used to. As mentioned when talking about the 76ers, Philadelphia’s third-quarter run was crucial to the Celtics’ loss. They ran a rotation of Kemba Walker, Jeff Teague, Javonte Green, Grant Williams, and Robert Williams, who made his return tonight as well. Tobias Harris made light work of his fellow former Tennessee Volunteer, as Grant Williams couldn’t stop Harris on offense or defense. Dwight Howard also feasted, grabbing four offensive rebounds, mostly while being guarded by (Robert) Williams.
For the 76ers, they improve to 11-5, maintaining their grasp of the #1 seed in the East. They will play the Pistons in Detroit tomorrow night, riding their now two-game win streak from this series.
For the Celtics, this sets them back to 8-6, fourth in the Eastern Conference. They are now on a three-game losing streak, combining with the blowout loss against the Knicks last Sunday. They play next this Sunday against the red hot Cleveland Cavaliers, coming off two big wins against the Brooklyn Nets. If they lose that game, then Cleveland and them will be tied at 4th place in the East.
Overall, this was a good win for Philadelphia, as Celtics fans now count down the days until Jayson Tatum returns.