Celtics 92, 76ers 103
Numerous Celtics have boasted this preseason that the team's second unit could be a starting five on other NBA teams. Tonight was an opportunity to prove that thought to be true, as Boston sat its five starters and Delonte West against the Sixers in the first game of a four-games-in-five-nights stretch.
For two-plus quarters, there was no doubt that Boston's reserves were trumping Philadelphia's full roster. The C's used a 14-3 run to open up the second half, in turn building a 12-point lead. But that was when the positives came to a halt, and the 76ers' regulars took control of the game.
The Celtics' strong play over the first 30 minutes of the game was predicated on efficient offense and stifling defense. When the offense went out of whack and began turning the ball over midway through the third period, it was nearly impossible to hold up either end of that solid play.
In less than five minutes, the Sixers were able to turn that 12-point deficit into a two-point lead, with the dramatic run being capped by a Louis Williams 3-pointer with 22.6 seconds remaining in the third. During Philadelphia's run, Boston committed four turnovers and five fouls, one of which was a technical on Jermaine O'Neal. The 76ers turned those Celtic mistakes into eight made free-throws, two 3-pointers and four two-pointers, totaling 22 points in just 4:57 of play.
Sadly for the Celtics, the fourth quarter's start did not mark the end of their mishaps. The team continued to turn the ball over and play sloppy basketball while Marreese Speights highlighted Philadelphia's final quarter. At one point of the fourth quarter, the Sixers had built a whopping 15-point lead. Speights scored 15 points in the quarter, and the Sixers wound up with a 103-92 victory, which was their first of the preseason.
Key Box Score Line
Nate Robinson was one Celtics who took full advantage of the opportunity to play more minutes tonight while the starters watched from the sideline. His performance was the most explosive offensive night any Celtic has had during this preseason.
Boston's fill-in starting point guard did everything he could to give the C's a chance at a win, finishing with game-highs of 26 points and eight assists. His eight dimes are more than Rondo had recorded in any of the team's first three preseason games. Robinson also grabbed five boards while shooting 6-of-13 from the field and 11-of-12 from the free-throw line. His only downfall was that he accounted for nearly a quarter of the team's 25 turnovers, as he coughed the ball up six times.
Box Score Nuggets
- Boston rested all five of its starters, plus Delonte West.
- Jermaine O'Neal grabbed 12 boards in his first extended minutes of the preseason, a high for any Celtic in the team's four games.
- The Celtics shot 50.0 percent from the field, 54.5 percent from 3-point range and 82.8 percent from the free-throw line but still lost.
- Luke Harangody scored 11 points and grabbed three rebounds in just 13:30 of playing time.
- Philadelphia shot a ridiculous 10-of-12 from 3-point range.
- Seven of the 10 Sixers who appeared in the game scored in double-figures.
- Boston committed 25 turnovers, with six coming from Nate Robinson.
- Five technicals were called in the game (three on the Sixers, two on the Celtics).
- Both teams grabbed eight offensive rebounds.
- Glen Davis had a solid all around game with 14 points, five rebounds and four assists.
- Marreese Speights scored 15 of his team-high 19 points in the fourth quarter.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers on the fourth quarter collapse: "It reminded me of the olden days in some ways. You can win for three quarters, but it's the fourth quarter that really comes back because they have their guys in who can make plays. We just didn't really make any offensive plays."