By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers started their first-round match-up against the Boston Celtics, severely undermanned. They were missing their perimeter defensive anchor in forward Ben Simmons. The Celtics were able to take advantage of his absence and ride their high-powered offense to an 109-101 victory.
It looked good for the Sixers early in the game. They hit their first five shots and rode the hot hand in center Joel Embiid. Embiid scored 26-points and grabbed 16 rebounds.
The Celtics had no one who could defend Joel Embiid, but they did a good job limiting the offensive output of the Sixers role players. Who could not give him enough help.
They also forced the Sixers into 19-turnovers. This allowed the Celtics to have 12 more shooting opportunities and allowed them to use their speed advantage against them.
The easy baskets unlocked forward Jayson Tatum who scored 32-points and grabbed 13 rebounds. The threw several defenders at Tatum and the only one who was able to slow him down was forward Matisse Thybulle.
Tatum was also able to get some help from guard Jaylen Brown. Brown did most of his scoring damage in the second half. After the Sixers were able to slow down Tatum. He scored 29-points and grabbed six rebounds.
The Celtics were able to ride the combined 61-point output of Tatum and Brown to a Game 1 victory. For the Sixers they must feel like they let a winnable game get away. Once they limited the turnovers, they were able to gain a six-point lead late in the game against the Celtics. However, the turnovers were their main weakness in this game.
They will need to limit turnovers, find a defensive answer for Tatum, and find some more scoring help for Embiid. If they want to even this series up on Wednesday night.