Jared Sullinger grabbed a team-high 14 rebounds and the Celtics cruised past the 76ers, 81-65, on Friday night in Manchester.
The Celtics’ offense struggled throughout the contest, shooting just 35% from the field and 6-for-28 on three-pointers. They scored a solid 24 points in the opening period, but floundered from then on in their worst all-around effort of the month.
Particularly ugly to watch was the performance of Isaiah Thomas, who returned to the court after missing two games with a left shin contusion. Thomas — normally a reliable threat — logged a measly seven points on 3-for-17, coming up short on each of his five three-point tries.
The Celtics’ numbers still weren’t as bad as the Sixers’, however — the visitors recorded nearly as many turnovers (23) as they did field goals (24). In fact, Philadelphia didn’t score its first basket in the third quarter until there was 5:21 remaining, allowing the mediocre C’s to pull away.
It wasn’t the prettiest of victories, but Brad Stevens will certainly take it.
Turning Point: The Celtics began the second half on a 12-3 run, helping them bounce back from a rough stretch prior to the break. Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk each drilled threes during the rally, giving Boston enough breathing room to seal the W.
Boards, Boards, Boards: The Celtics gathered 67 rebounds on the evening, the most of any NBA team this preseason. As mentioned early, Sullinger led the way with 14 — followed closely by Amir Johnson’s 13 and Olynyk’s 12.
Doing His Part: Jordan Mickey pitched in 10 points upon entering in the fourth, knocking down five of seven field-goal attempts in 12 minutes of play. Mickey also had two blocks on defense, further building his reputation as an asset on both sides of the ball.
Next Up: The Celtics will host the 76ers again in Wednesday’s regular season opener, their second straight at the TD Garden. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. ET, with CSN-New England and CSN-Philadelphia calling the action.
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