The Philadelphia 76ers were obliterated by the Celtics in game 2, 101-128. Boston was led by Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown who all lit the Sixers up for the 2nd game in a row. The Sixers were led by Joel Embiid who finished with 34 points and 10 rebounds.
Brett Brown made the move that most Sixer fans had been clamouring for since it was known who the Sixers first round matchup was against. Matisse Thybulle got the start and the Sixers started out on fire. Joel Embiid was aggressive, finishing the quarter with 15 points. Shake Milton was attacking and Josh Richardson and Tobias Harris were looking to score. Brett Brown then made the baffling decision to sub out Matisse Thybulle for Raul Neto. Neto finished the game with a -17 +/-. Alec Burks didn’t touch the court in the 1st quarter, a questionable decision after Burks scored 18 points off the bench in game one. The Sixers led by 6 after one.
This was where things started to go downhill. The Celtics started the 2nd quarter on a 12-0 run. At one point in the second quarter the Celtics were outscoring the Sixers 25-8. Boston began going at Philadelphia in the pick and roll and attacking the team from the mid-range. Mainly. Kemba Walker who scored 11 points in the quarter. At one point in the 2nd quarter, the Sixers put a lineup of Neto-Thybulle-Harris-Horford-Embiid on the court. Predictably, they struggled. For the Sixers, no one took charge and led them.
At halftime, the Sixers were down 57-65. In the 3rd, the Celtics began the quarter on a 9-0 run. Brett Brown called a timeout at 7:53. The run then ballooned to 18-6 and the soon the Sixers were down 20. Tobias Harris and Al Horford were nowhere to be found and Joel Embiid couldn’t buy a bucket. In totality, the Sixers were outscored 18-31 in the 3rd quarter. Boston continued attacking the Sixers in pick and roll sets (per usual) as the Brett Brown refused to adjust. After the 3rd quarter, the Celtics led the Sixers 75-98.
The 4th quarter was where the Celtics busted the game open behind the stellar play of Jayson Tatum who finished with 33 points.
My game 2 keys to the victory were:
- Go to Jo
Joel Embiid was given the ball (for the first half). He scored 22 points (15 of which came in the 1st quarter) in the first half. Then 12 in the 2nd half. The Celtics began doubling Embiid in the post, which led to Embiid drifting out of the post and near the wings/three point line. The Celtics were more than happy to give other Sixers shots.
2. Start Thybulle
Brett Brown started Matisse Thybulle. It wasn’t enough. No matter what the Sixers did, the Celtics did more. Thybulle competed hard on defense but, in the end Tatum’s offense proved to be too much for the Washington rookie to handle.
3. More From Tobias Harris and Al Horford
In this game, Tobias Harris and Al Horford combined for:
- 17 points
- 6-18 shooting
- 0-2 from 3 (Harris shot both attempts)
The two player’s contracts combine for $289 million. Simply put the Sixers messed up.
4. Less Josh Richardson (Offensively)
In game one, Josh Richardson shot nine three pointers. He didn’t have as many head scratching shot attempts this game as he did the last (there were a few). Richardson was more efficient in game 2, finishing with 18 points on 6-12 shooting. He was the Sixers second leading scorer, but predictively, it wasn’t enough.
5. More Bench Production from Guys Not Named Alec Burks
Burks didn’t even match his own production from game 1, in game 2. Al Horford came off the bench, and shot 2-3 for 4 points.
6. Play Disciplined Basketball
They didn’t turn the ball over as much, however from a pure focus standpoint, the Sixers were not there.
Blame in this one can go all around. Brett Brown for his terrible decision making, Tobias Harris and Al Horford for their disappearing act, Joel Embiid for faltering down the stretch again, or Elton Brand for putting this team together. I said at the beginning of this series that it’d take a team effort with Ben Simmons out and now down 2-0, it’s been a organizational effort that has placed the team in this situation. With their backs now against the wall facing a 3-0 hole, the Sixers return to action on Friday at 6:30 pm.