By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics faced off in a prime-time Saturday night matchup that pitted two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference against each other. They traded blows throughout most of this game, and it took a Tatum buzzer beater from the three-point line to pull the Celtics over the finish line tonight, as they beat them 110-107.
The Sixers jumped on the Celtics from the opening tip-off as they were able to hit their shots early on, especially from the three-point line. Boston just could not get to the ball fast enough as the Sixers moved it around to find the open man and maximize their offensive opportunities. The trio of Joel Embiid (41-points, grabbed 12-rebounds, and had five assists, James Harden (21-points), and Tobias Harris (19-points) carved the Celtics up in this game. They combined 81 of the Sixers 107-points and Boston had no answers for what they were doing in this game. Embiid’s passing ability gave the Celtics fits in this contest whenever they would double team him, he would find the open man. That allowed the Sixers to jump out to a 15-point lead by the third quarter. If Embiid can continue to make the right play and trust his teammates the Sixers can be a problem for any team in the league, and will be a hard out in the playoffs.
The Celtics were able to weather the storm from the Sixers thanks to Al Horford. Who continued his passion of killing Philly had opportune times. He hit five three-pointers in the third quarter to help bring Boston back to life in a game they were dominated in. His three-point shooting gave Boston enough room to comeback in the game and take a ten-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Celtics ball movement in the second half gave the Sixers fits, they were able to find the holes in their defense and hit shots. The Sixers cannot lose players like Horford in the corner and expect to win games. Losing him came back to bite them tonight.
Despite their defensive lapses this game was right there for the Sixers to take from Boston. They were able to erase the Celtics 10-point lead thanks to Joel Embiid hitting some clutch free-throws to tie this game, and the Celtics needed a Jayson Tatum rainbow three-pointer from the top of the key to beat them tonight. If this game is any indication not only will a playoff series between these two teams be a fun matchup, it will be a lot closer than most people think. If the Sixers get more than 12-points from their second unit they can beat Boston.
Philly will now prepare to wrap up this home-stand on Monday night against the Miami Heat. They will need to continue to make ball movement a priority on the offensive side. Getting high-percentage shots against a stingy Miami Heat defense will allow them to keep up with the Heat’s offense. They will also need to stay attached to their man and make the Heat a one and done team. They cannot give them any chances to get an offensive rebound and get more chances to hit shots. If they want to get their 40th victory of the season and continue to rocket up the standings in the loaded Eastern Conference.