By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers were looking to make a huge statement, heading into their first preseason match-up against the Boston Celtics tonight. They made an emphatic statement jumping out to an early lead and never relenting. They went wire to wire beating the Celtics 108-99. On both sides of the ball, they looked energized and if this first game is anything to go by, they look like they will be a force to be reckon with in the East.
Early in the game the Celtics were able to jump out to an early lead. They were able to hit some well contested three-point shots. The Sixers weathered the early storm. They were able to use their length and energy on defense to force the Celtics into some uncharacteristic turnovers. That allowed them to get some lay-ups and dunks in the open court.
On the energy and team support, “Guys are very supportive. They’re trying to help each other.
Joel, Ben – all the guys are engaged. We’ve got to keep it that way. I love the spirit,” said Head Coach Doc Rivers.
The beneficiary of this was guard Seth Curry who made an impact in his Sixers debut. He was able to take advantage of the two-man game with center Joel Embiid. He scored seven points and hit one three-pointer. He was able to create space for Embiid and Simmons to operate with. If Curry can develop even better chemistry with Embiid, that two-man game can be as deadly as it was when JJ Reddick was in Philly.
This spacing created by Curry allowed Embiid to get 18-points in 17 minutes of work and allowed Ben Simmons to play off the ball and attack the smaller Celtic defenders.
On Embiid, “We ran our stuff, but we didn’t run his stuff, and he still had 18,” said Rivers.
The defense of the Sixers was able to keep the vaunted duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown relatively in check. Both combined for 15-points. The energy and activity they displayed on defense did not allow for Brown or Tatum to get any easy shots. If the Sixers can carry that defensive energy into the regular season, they might be a force to be reckon with.
This is only the first preseason game but Doc Rivers and the new additions to the Sixers seem to already be making an early impact on them. They now head to a Friday night primetime match-up with the Indiana Pacers.