“When the Celtics were really struggling in the second quarter, there was one player who got them going: Jaylen Brown…. When they needed a lift in the third, Jayson Tatum showed the polish of a veteran…. These two young Boston wings for the Boston Celtics got them back in this game.” – Tim Capshaw, CBS
By J.D. Anderson
London — On the verge of being blown out, the Boston Celtics knew what to do against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Celtics trailed by as many as 22 points in the second quarter when Brown sparked the rally.
After being trash-talked much of the game, Brown returned to the game at the 7:33 mark of the second quarter. Ninety seconds and one free throw later, he tossed in a 3-point shot at the 6:03 mark amidst more taunting from the Philadelphia bench and fans.
The basket only sliced the lead to 18 points from 21. Nevertheless, Brown, feeling a little saucy, blew a kiss to the 6er bench. It was a risky move — Brown has been on the other end of a potential “premature taunt” courtesy of Steph Curry — but seemed to pay off.
For the quarter, Brown shot 4 of 4 for 10 points, as the Celtics sliced the Philadelphia lead to 57-48 at the half. Brown finished the game with 21 points to lead Celtic scorers.
“We came out a little bit slow, but we wanted to pick it up in the second half, and (when) we got our feet under us we started playing ball,” Brown said.
… to Jayson… ☘️
In the third quarter, it was Tatum’s turn to torment the 76ers.
Tatum’s early 3-point basket cut the 76er lead to 57-51. Several minutes and several basket later, he hit a smooooth 12-footer to slice Philly’s advantage to 68-67. Boston took the lead minutes later on a “beautiful basketball” dish from Al Horford to Daniel Theis.
Brown, Horford, Tatum, Terry Rozier added baskets in the rest of the third as Boston built a six point lead. It was a rally in which Kyrie Irving didn’t need to score, and in fact rested for the final 2:20 of the quarter.
… to ☘️ #Celtics “Smart plays”
Then the Celtic defense took over, led by “smart plays.”
Over the first eight minutes plus of the fourth, the 76ers made a total of four shots. This to go with four turnovers and zero offensive rebounds in that stretch.
“It seems to be in the middle of all these Philadelphia turnovers is Marcus Smart,” Capshaw chimed. Indeed, Smart drew an offensive foul, forced one turnover and collected three steals during the stretch.
By the time Smart tossed in a 3-pointer at the 7-minute mark, the Celtics had built a 102-85 lead and the 76ers could pretty much Jaylen-Brown-kiss it goodbye.
Thus the Celtics cruised to a comfortable 17-point lead and a 114-103 victory.
“This team that we played today is the best defensive team in the NBA, and we felt all of that,” 76er coach Brett Brown said.
Indeed, it was another win that showcased both tenacity and team balance. A quality you might refer to as “Celticness.”
After the game Elias (or someone) pointed out that the Celtics have been in nine games in which they trailed by 17 points or more. Their record in those games? 5-4.
There were big plays at key points by at least 10 Celtics players, from Theis’s thundering dunk to Terry Rozier’s 3-pointer.
Brown led five players in double figures for the Celtics. (He also ended with a game-best plus-34 plus-minus rating.) But Kyrie Irving added 20 to go along with seven assists and six rebounds.
Off the bench, Marcus Morris scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Tatum chipped in 16 points, including 11 in the third quarter to lead the rally Brown helped start in the second.
And “the Big Phlegmatic,” Horford, collected another “near triple double” — 13 points, eight boards and seven assists.
Simmons and “shrinkage”
For the 76ers, J.J. Redick scored a game-high 22 points, while Joel Embid contributed a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double. Dario Saric netted 12 points.
But his stat line for the fourth quarter?
0 points, 0 assists, 0 rebounds, 1 missed shot, 1 foul. Hmmm.
(From AP, Field, and Celtics247 reports.)