Game Preview: 76ers at Celtics
Neither the Philadelphia 76ers nor Boston Celtics have found rebuilding mode to be very pleasant as they occupy the bottom two spots in the Atlantic Division.
Each team will look to end its three-game losing streak as Boston and Philadelphia meet for the first time this season Wednesday night at TD Garden.
The 76ers have largely struggled after a surprising 3-0 start, and they've dropped 10 of 12 following Monday's 124-113 loss to Phoenix. First-year coach Brett Brown was forced to take a timeout 25 seconds into the game, and Philadelphia never led while trailing by 14 after one quarter.
Rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams had 22 points and 11 assists, while Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner added 21 points apiece.
"We didn't come out the way we intended," Brown said. "We want to be a better defensive team. We talk about it, we drill it, we show it. We've got to find a better way to get that done."
The Sixers are allowing a league-worst 109.9 points per game and have given up triple digits 40 times. Carter-Williams, who grew up roughly 30 miles outside of Boston, said the 76ers need to be more efficient offensively if they're going to allow so many points.
Philadelphia committed 21 turnovers and had 12 shots blocked Monday. It has had 334 shots swatted this season, 50 more than any other team.
"We just need to play all-around better defense," Carter-Williams said. "We're sticking to our principles, and now we've just got to do better at them. We have to do a lot of things better than what we're doing."
Boston is averaging 83.3 points and shooting 39.8 percent during its skid after falling 114-88 at New York on Tuesday.
Rajon Rondo went 3 for 13 from the field and finished with seven points, five assists and four turnovers, and it's unclear if coach Brad Stevens will let his point guard play Wednesday. Rondo missed the first 40 games recovering from ACL surgery and also sat out last Wednesday's win over Washington - the team's first back-to-back since he returned.
"We didn't take anything away tonight," said Rondo, who's shooting 27.9 percent and averaging just 6.7 points. "We pretty much gave them everything they wanted. They took away stuff from us but we didn't take anything away from those guys."
Jeff Green scored a team-high 14 points Tuesday but shot just 4 of 13. Chris Johnson, who was signed to a second 10-day contract earlier in the day, added 12 points as Boston lost for the 14th time in its last 16 games.
"(Tuesday) was a good old-fashioned butt kicking," Stevens said.
Though Philadelphia is going through similar struggles, Brown is doing his best to build on the positives.
"I think we're a few possessions away from getting it right," Brown said. "We have to be better, and that starts with me."