By: Kylan Watson
After a tough loss last night, the Philadelphia 76ers faced off with the Boston Celtics for the second time in two weeks. This time Boston hit their shots and took advantage of tired legs and mistakes by Philly to beat the Sixers 117-107.
The Sixers did not start this game off well, they clearly showed signs of a team who played in a tough game last night. Boston took full advantage hitting their shots and making it rain from the three-point line. Before the Sixers could really settle into the game, they were down by 20-plus points and Boston was threatening to runaway with the game. The duo of Jayson Tatum (29-points) and Derrick White (27-points) combined for 56 of Boston’s 117-points to keep them ahead in this contest. They refused to lose their second game in two weeks to Philly and would hit backbreaking shots late in this contest to help Boston get their first win in this four-game series against the Sixers. Both players took full advantage of the Sixers not having either Nic Batum or Kelly Oubre available tonight to give them any challenge on the wing. For the Sixers that wing position has shown up as a huge weakness when Batum and Oubre are not available. They must either trade or search the waiver wire for a serviceable wing until both Oubre and Batum get back to them. Otherwise, they can be worked over on the perimeter like what happened tonight.
Despite the scoring explosion from Tatum and White and having every reason to give up on this game and just let Boston have it. The Sixers stormed back in the second quarter to retake the lead. They were led by Jaden Springer who provided instant offense off the bench. His length and quickness gave the Celtics fits. In one sequence he hit a corner three-pointer, stole the ball from Tatum and got a dunk out of it to instantly energize a dead second unit. That energy sparked a Sixers comeback and a slugfest until the fourth quarter. Springer really should have a more significant role in this rotation especially with both Oubre and Batum out. He provides energy and shore up a defensive weakness for Philly. He also can start too if you want to sure up the second unit by having Robert Covington come off the bench. Springer despite the multiple mistakes he made tonight is making an argument to at least get a look from Nick Nurse. He gave the team more tonight than any other player on the roster. They will need energy like that on nights like tonight where both Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey really do not play well enough to get the team a win. Nick Nurse needs to at least let Springer play a more significant role in the next few games and see where that leads and until Batum comes back to reclaim his starting spot let Springer start. He did more today to slow down Tatum than any other Sixer did in tonight’s contest.
The Sixers will now prepare to face the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night and they will need to stay attached to their man to slowdown the explosive backcourt of Murray and Young. This is a game that could be a good place for Jaden Springer to start his length should help force them into difficult shots. Additionally, Philly will also need to keep the ball moving on the offensive side. Their offense is at its best when the ball moves, and they can find a high-percentage shot. If they can implement these things, they should be able to get their ninth win of the season against the Hawks on Friday.