By: Kylan Watson
Coming into game two the Philadelphia 76ers had all the momentum. They stole the previous game from the Boston Celtics and it was up to them to respond. The Celtics faced a must win scenario, they could not go to Philly down two-games-to-nothing. They played like a team who needed this game as they crushed the Sixers from the three-point line and ran them off the court 121-87.
Unlike the previous game both teams struggled finding their offense footing early on. The Sixers clogged the paint and forced the Celtics to spend the majority of their possessions operating in the half-court. The return of Joel Embiid made this a little easier as he imposed his will and force the Celtics to think twice about trying to attack the paint. Unfortunately for the Sixers the Celtics made it rain from the three-point line in this contest making 20/51 three-pointers and Philly just did not have an offensive answer to their three-point dominance. They could not throw it in the ocean tonight with Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris being the only players who showed up tonight. Philly will need to get more from their other players. They only made six three-pointers tonight and the lackluster offensive display affected them on the defensive end. Boston got whatever they wanted from the field and that was mostly from the three-point line tonight.
Give all the credit to the Celtics for responding after letting game one slip through their fingers because of turnovers. They kept their turnovers down and went with the get Jaylen Brown the ball and move out the way strategy. He put his fingerprints all over this game, scoring 25-points and getting whatever, he wanted from the field. He was forced to do the majority of his damage from the perimeter and unlike the last game he answered the call, scoring some back-breaking shots over outstretched arms. Brown didn’t have many wide-open looks and he made the Sixers pay tonight for not giving him enough defensive attention. He had help in this contest with Malcolm Brogdon joining in on the fun scoring 23-points to close this game out. Both players had a dominant third quarter to help the Celtics stay in front and give Philly no room to respond tonight. The Sixers will need to put more length on both of them to slow them down. Brown is going to get his regardless, but tonight for Philly the difference maker was they did not hit their three-pointers and they will need to get that working again, if they want to win this series.
It is a make or miss league and unfortunately for the Sixers tonight was the power outage game for them. They just could not make the Celtics pay for defensive mistakes only hitting six/30 three-pointers in tonight’s contest. They just did not have the touch from the field and some of that is Boston’s suffocating defense forcing them to be perfect and the other half is they just could not find the bottom of the net tonight. Philly reached their goal of splitting both games in Boston. However, with both of these teams being the top-two road teams in the league, stealing home court is going to happen a lot in this series. With the series now shifting to Philly the Sixers should be able to hit their shots and find their touch again. Role players play better at home than they do on the road and the Sixers will need to find more balanced offense again like they had in game one if they want to win both of these games in Philly this weekend. Additionally, they will need to put some more length on Brown and Brogdon and force them into taking more difficult shots during Boston’s offensive possessions. If they can implement these things, they can win game three and take a two-to-one series lead over the Celtics.