Ford Keys to the Game: 76ers at Celtics (preseason)

Ford Keys to the Game

76ers 65, Celtics 93

Game Highlights

Photo of the Game

Rajon Rondo, Marreese Speights, Shaquille O'Neal

Rajon Rondo and Shaquille O'Neal give the good old 'high-low' defense to Marreese Speights.
Steve Babineau/NBAE/Getty

Key Moment

Boston’s mission this season is to bring home Banner 18, but tonight, in their first preseason game, the mission was to make a statement against the Philadelphia 76ers.

It didn’t take the Celtics long to accomplish that goal.

Paul Pierce started the game out with an easy layup to put Boston up 2-0, and within minutes the C’s quickly bumped that lead up to 12-4. They did so with stifling defense and pass-happy offense, leading to tough shots for the Sixers and easy buckets for Boston.

The Manchester, N.H. crowd in the Verizon Wireless Arena were as psyched up as the Boston crowd will be on Opening Night, and the quick start by the Celtics only added fuel to the fire. They gave a huge ovation to Shaq as he was announced, and they loved him even more as he helped Boston put together its quick lead.

With the crowd fired up and the C’s clicking on all cylinders at both ends, this game was over just minutes into the first quarter. Boston continued to pile it on the young Sixers squad and eventually ran away with an impressive 93-65 win.

Key Box Score Line

In its first game since acquiring Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal in the offseason to boost its frontcourt, Boston may have discovered that they’ve got even more depth in that area than anyone may have thought. Semih Erden, the 7-foot rookie out of Turkey, had an overwhelming debut in a Celtics uniform.

Erden was fluid at both ends of the court, playing phenomenal defense at one end and showing veteran-like poise at the offensive end.

On defense, he displayed his basketball IQ by using the correct angles of attack and by timing himself perfectly for two blocked shots. On offense, he stepped away from double-teams and delivered calm passes in addition to shooting 3-for-3 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. Oh yeah, and he also pitched in five rebounds in his 23:44 of playing time.

Not a bad debut for the rook now, was it?

Box Score Nuggets

  • Ray Allen led the Celtics in both scoring (14 points) and rebounds (eight boards).
  • Rajon Rondo dished out seven assists, while no other player in the game notched more than two.
  • Stephane Lasme scored 12 points off the bench for Boston in only 7:07 of playing time.
  • Philadelphia scored nine, 13 and 18 points, respectively, in the first three quarters.
  • Three of Philadelphia's starters (and their only three overall) scored in double-figures, while four Celtic reserves scored at least 10.
  • Sixers starting point guard Jrue Holiday finished the game with only one assist compared to seven turnovers.
  • The 76ers shot only 26.9 percent from the floor.
  • Boston outrebounded Philadelphis 48-32.
  • The Celtics attempted only nine 3-pointers, making two.
  • The teams combined to take 75 free-throws (43 for Boston, 32 for Philadelphia).