The Celtics beat the 76ers on Wednesday night 128-101. For the second straight game, the 76ers came out of the first quarter with a hot start. And for the second straight game it looked like they gave up for the remaining three quarters. Joel Embiid can only do so much. He finished with 34 points on 11-21 shooting as well as 10 rebounds and 3 assists. Tobias Harris and Al Hoford, who both signed contracts for a total of about $300 Million, scored a combined 17 points on 6-18 shooting. Alec Burks, who was excellent in game 1, did not check into the game until the second quarter for some reason and shot only 1-8 from the field for 2 points. Mattise Thybulle was placed into the starting lineup in order to help contain Jayson Tatum and in the 15 possessions Thybulle guarded Tatum, Tatum scored 10 points on 3-4 shooting. Mattise was a -30 yesterday which was the worst between both teams. Josh Richardson actually played pretty well yesterday and Shake Milton put up a solid 14 points on 5-8 shooting. The 76ers bench shot 6-22 from the floor yesterday for 20 points.
While Embiid played really well offensively, one of the main reasons the 76ers lost was because of his pick and roll defense. In multiple possessions yesterday, the Celtics would run a pick and roll with Daniel Theis or Enes Kanter with Tatum, Smart, or Walker as the primary ball-handler. In almost every possession, the ball-handler would be wide open or Embiid would lay low in the paint and leave Theis wide open. If Theis would hit 3’s consistently, the Celtics could have won this game by 40+. If Kemba Walker was a ball-hog, he could have shot around 50 shots last night off the pick and roll and almost every look would have been considered a good shot. Another defensive flaw they had was the 76ers think that Thybulle is their best Tatum stopper with Simmons out, yet Thybulle rarely truly guarded Tatum. Almost every time there was a screen, they would switch instead of Thybulle fighting through the screen and it resulted in Tatum in isolation against Harris, Horford, Richardson or whomever who are either too small or just not that good defensively.
In their first game without Gordon Hayward, the Celtics started off slow, but completely dominated the 76ers after Jayson Tatum hit a miraculous shot near half court, which arguably should have been an and-one. A game after Jayson Tatum set a playoff career high in points, he set a new one on Wednesday night. He finished with 33 points on 12-20 shooting, as well as 5 rebounds and 5 assists and a team high +29. Kemba Walker started off slow, but picked it up in the second quarter and finished with 22 points. Jaylen Brown also scored 20 points and even had an insane 360 dunk. Even though as a Celtics fan it is nice to see our big 3 all score 20+ points, the biggest reason the Celtics won was due to their bench. Enes Kanter played an amazing game with 10 points and 9 rebounds, Brad Wanamaker had 7 points and 4 assists, and Grant Williams had 9 points and 6 rebounds. Romeo Langford even made his debut and was a +26 from the field. Wanamaker and Kanter were a +28 and +24 from the floor, respectively.
To cap off this amazing win, we even got a little Tacko time.
If the 76ers do not pick up their errors on the defensive end and if no one helps Embiid on the offensive end, the Sixers might as well say 1-2-3 Cancun!