The Celtics were a day late, but not a dollar short tonight. Despite flying out early Sunday morning, Boston enforced the Atlantic division hierarchy by handling the Sixers easily in a 48 minute event that was close for roughly two minutes midway through the first quarter.
Under the best possible conditions there’s not much reason to turn out for a Sixers game. And after the city’s been buried in about 20″ of snow, there’s even less reason to do so. Tonight’s affair was attended by enough people to give the game a serious high school basketball game vibe. Special recognition is due to the leather-lunged gal who continued to bellow “Let’s go defense” with the Sixers down by more than 20.
The Celtics came out of the first quarter shooting really well, and for a while only Robert Covington (who at one point had ten of Philly’s 20 points) kept the Sixers in it. Then the Celtics started to get a bit sloppy on the defensive end and the Sixers were able to bring it down to a single possession game, 27-25. Boston then went on a 19-3 run that spanned the end of the first and start of the second quarters to get some breathing room.
At the end of the first, Boston was up five, 30-25.
During the second quarter the Celtics were on fire from three–almost to the point where they stopped thinking about playing halfcourt offense and just ran the ball to the three-point line and hoisted up a shot. Fortunately, common sense prevailed after a few bad misses, and the team settled down into actual offensive sets. These guys aren’t the Warriors, after all. Both teams ended the half playing some pretty ugly basketball, the Sixers and C’s combined for exactly one field goal over the final three minutes. Nonetheless, Boston was up 15, 58-43 at the half.
The third quarter did not feature a Celtics collapse which is just about headline material these days–even in games that they win. Instead, the team went methodically about the task of extending the lead (Scal called it a “business-like approach”). The 15 point halftime lead was 29 points by the halfway mark of the third quarter. Philadelphia got four of those points back over the next six minutes, ending the quarter down “only” 25.
The fourth quarter wasn’t exactly a carbon copy of the third, but it wasn’t different enough to help the Sixers out. The Sixers got the deficit down to about 20, and the teams essentially traded baskets from there on out, with the final score coming in at 112-92.
At one point in the second quarter, Marcus Smart made three consecutive three point shots of increasing difficulty.
Celtics had 17 assists on 24 made baskets in the first half.
Boston shot 50% (11-22) from three.
Philly turned the ball over 23 times.
Celtics turned the ball over 16 times.
There were technical difficulties at the Wells Fargo Center, so there weren’t many vids. Actually, there was just this one from Globe writer Adam Himmelsbach.
Always impressive when Isaiah gets into the paint & has his way then you hear his “and 1! Damn!” https://t.co/GWuYc3bdkO
— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) January 25, 2016
Terry Rozier sighting. The first rookie off the bench logged 5:47 and finished with two points, missing two from the field and hitting two from the line.