Everything you need to know about the Boston Celtics 106-96 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, with BSJ insight and analysis.
Boston needs to be perfect against the good teams. This game showed the gap between Boston and Philadelphia. Early on, when the Sixers were struggling to get some shots, they still managed to get some turnovers and stops. Boston never could get the stops once the Sixers shooters got going.
Philly is a contending team in a tight race at the top of the East. Boston is floating in that next pack of teams, hoping to ultimately settle into the fourth seed after the next couple of dozen games shake out.
Does that mean it’s impossible for Boston to beat the Sixers? No, but they need to be at full strength and they need to be on point. They’ll never win a game against one of the league’s best by turning it over 22 times.
Turnovers were a killer. It felt like the Celtics were trying to make passes that got through against other teams but didn’t quite make it against a good team like Philly, and then they got discouraged by it.
“We were loose with passes. We took too much of a gamble, too much of a risk, and it backfired,” Brad Stevens said. “You have to be sure with the ball against them because otherwise they get running in transition. And in the half court they’re hard enough to stop, but if you let them have runouts, it’s impossible."
Goodbye ball movement. With the turnovers piling up, the passes dried up, and the isolation play crept back into Boston’s offense.
“We need to do a better job of moving, cutting, getting better baskets. You can’t beat these guys in isolation. And they are very good pick-and-roll defenders because they are so long.”
It's easy to say but tough to do against a great team. This team especially will devolve into bad habits when things go wrong. It’s yet another reminder that when the going gets tough, they need to trust each other and make the right play.
The Celtics started getting sloppy with their doubling of Joel Embiid about halfway through the second quarter. That allowed Seth Curry and Danny Green to start getting better looks from deep. Boston’s early 3’s kept them alive in the first quarter, but Philly’s broke the game open in the second.