The Celtics topped the Sixers 108-97 last night in Boston. Up by 10 at the half and 5 to start the Third it was not a cake walk by any stretch but Celtics clearly controlled the game.
Can a player have a quiet 36 points? I’m pretty sure only Kyrie can. His ability to get to the rim absolutely whenever he wants in an efficient manner is unparalleled around the league. Harden does it but it seems like it takes him a lot more isolation dribbling until the space is there. And Harden’s main objective is creating contact and getting to the line. Kyrie puts the ball in the bucket from the floor from whatever insane angle he creates:
While Kyrie gets the shine for proving the highlights and the buckets, Big Al Horford just puts in the work. His pick-n-roll chemistry extends to just about everyone on the team. He was clicking with Marcus Smart especially last night:
With Lord Embiid sitting out the game Boston was able to control the paint, outscoring the Sixers 44-36. Philly stayed in reaching distance mainly by jacking threes, connecting on 16 triples.
For the Sixers Ben Simmons truly is a marvel. Is a righty or a lefty? The world may never know and me thinks he wants it that way. He shots his jumper lefty but goes out of his way to do everything else with his right hand:
What kind of freak has an off hand running hook?
For the Celtics sake I hope he never figures out his jumper because he may become unstoppable. As it was the Celtics did a good job making Simmons take tough shots and held him to just 15 on 6-14 shooting. No “Hack-a-Ben” needed last night.
Take a look at the breakdown of minutes played by each team:
The Sixers were short handed for sure last night so their starters had to pull extra time but the Celtics minutes distribution is really a marvel. Kyrie is doing his damage in 33 minutes. Nobody playing more than Al’s 34. Fresh legs all season and into the playoffs is the goal.
All in all a solid victory against a top Eastern Conference foe (the Sixers have to be considered that now, facing one of the toughest schedules so far and being 3 games above .500 is no joke).
It’s on to an easier (on paper at least) task of hosting the Suns on Saturday.