The Celtics — working without the suspended Kelly Olynyk — held a double-digit advantage for most of the contest, aided in large part by Thomas’ strong outing. The 5’9 speedster bounced back from an 0-for-4 start to shoot 10-for-19 on the evening, nailing one of his six three-point attempts.
The Sixers, meanwhile, put up a better fight than expected, though their competitiveness all but disappeared in the second half. Center Jahlil Okafor and point guard Isaiah Canaan led them with 26 and 18 points, respectively — Okafor demonstrating his defensive ability with a pair of blocks.
Philadelphia out-rebounded the C’s 47-41, but Boston made up for it with a 26-7 edge on fast-break points. All in all, it was a solid way to open the schedule for the Green and White, who begin the season 1-0 for the second straight year.
Turning Point: The Celtics trailed by as many as nine in the first quarter, but took control of things for good with a dominant performance in the second. Sparked by a 13-0 run at the 9:27 mark, the Celtics out-scored the Sixers 30-14 in the period, with a three from Marcus Smart capping off the rally at the buzzer.
Effort Pays Off: Free agent signee Amir Johnson scored 15 points on 6-for-11, grabbing a team-high seven boards in 20 minutes of play. Johnson was known for his hustle during his days in Toronto, and the big man showed why with his constant disruption of the Sixers down low.
Doing His Part: Jae Crowder pitched in 14 points in a starting role, drilling two of his four three-point tries and each of his four free throws. Crowder wasn’t very involved in the Celtics’ mid-game surge, but his early baskets were nonetheless enough to excite the crowd.
Next Up: The Celtics battle the Raptors in another matchup at the Garden Friday, their first meeting with the squad since April’s last-second thriller. Tip-off is at 7:30 pm ET, with CSN-New England and Sportsnet One calling the action.
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